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HUFFPOLLSTER: Cuomo's Approval Drops Sharply

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ANDREW CUOMO
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo makes a point during a meeting on tax cut proposals in the Red Room at the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, in Albany, N.Y. Cuomo has proposed cutting the state?s corporate income tax from 7.1 percent to 6.5 percent and eliminating it altogether for upstate manufacturers. He also has proposed paying more state aid as an incentive to any of New York?s 10,500 local governments that impose hard 2 percent spending caps and cut their costs by consolidating services with oth | ASSOCIATED PRESS
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The Marist poll shows Andrew Cuomo's job rating plunging in New York. A lot of Republicans rule out voting for Chris Christie in 2016, but was Romney in worse shape four years ago? And a very unscientific survey finds surprising CPAC support for Vladimir Putin. This is HuffPollster for Thursday, March 6, 2014.

CUOMO'S APPROVAL RATING TAKES A HIT - Celeste Katz: "While [New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo crushes three Republicans -- Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino 65% to 25%, Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino 68% to 25% and real estate mogul Donald Trump 70% to 26% -- his job approval is at its lowest point since he took office. Voters still view him in a positive light overall. Thursday's NBC 4 New York/Wall Street Journal/Marist Poll reports 42% of registered voters think the first-term governor is doing a good job, down 10 points from November. About 38% call his performance 'fair' and 18% rate it as 'poor.'" [NY Daily News, Marist]

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Different questions get different results - Those paying close attention may recall a Quinnipiac University poll released just three weeks ago giving Cuomo much different job rating -- 63 percent approved and 28 percent disapproved. As we noted, in November, question wording likely explains much of the gap: "The excellent/good/fair/poor wording typically produces a smaller percentage in the two top categories, presumably because some respondents hear 'fair' as more of a neutral category." Results for Cuomo's job rating from the Marist Poll have closely matched those from the Siena Research Institute over the past three years. The Quinnipiac poll, which asks voters if they "approve or disapprove," has typically produced a higher positive rating for Cuomo except -- for reasons that are unclear -- in early 2013. [HuffPollster, Quinnipiac, Siena]

ANOTHER NH POLL SHOWS SHAHEEN LEADING BROWN - Joe Battenfeld: "Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's prospects for a political comeback in New Hampshire have taken a sudden nosedive...Brown, the ex-Massachusetts lawmaker now considering a run against U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, is trailing the Democratic incumbent by a 52-39 percent margin in a general election matchup, according to the Suffolk/Herald poll of 800 likely New Hampshire voters. Just one in three Granite State voters have a favorable impression of Brown while 42 percent have a negative opinion of the Republican transplant who shocked the political world in 2010 by winning a U.S. Senate seat in the Bay State, the poll shows. Brown is easily defeating his GOP foes in a Senate primary matchup, getting just one third of Republican voters, according to the poll." [Boston Herald]

Slightly narrower leads on other polls - Shaheen has led Brown on nine out of ten New Hampshire polls that have tested the hypothetical matchup in the past year. The Suffolk poll gives Shaheen a slightly higher percentage of the vote, and thus a slightly bigger margin, than other recent polls, but Suffolk snapshot of the race is similar to the ten point advantage (47 to 37 percent) found by the UNH/WMUR poll in January. The Pollster poll tracking model gives Shaheen a roughly nine point lead (48.9 to 39.6 percent). [UNH, HuffPost Pollster]

STILL NO GOP FRONTRUNNERS FOR 2016 - Dan Balz and Peyton Craighill: "[A] a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that three in 10 of all Republicans say they would not vote for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie if he ran for the White House….The Post-ABC poll found that almost half of all Americans, and 50 percent of registered voters, say they 'definitely would not' vote for [Jeb Bush] for president — a possible hangover from the presidency of his brother George W. Bush….The overall findings underscore the degree to which the contest for the GOP nomination in 2016 is as wide open as any in the modern era. The poll found that there is no obvious beneficiary to Christie’s problems within the party or Jeb Bush’s apparent problem with the wider elec­torate….The survey also is not a definitive gauge of how people would vote in the GOP primaries or the general election. But as one early indicator, the findings help to stratify the field of candidates and give some sense of the breadth or depth of interest voters have at this point. " [WashPost]

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Is Christie worse off than Romney was in 2012? - Bloomberg Businessweek's Josh Green, who reported on Thursday on the "thoroughly positive" reception Christie received at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, emailed HuffPollster to ask if pollsters had asked a "would never vote for" question about Mitt Romney before the 2012 nomination contest. His implicit theory: Christie may be in no worse shape among Republicans now than Romney was four years ago. [Businessweek]

The answer is not immediately obvious - The Post/ABC poll did ask the same question about Romney again in the new poll, and asked a similar question about him in October 2011, but the question language was different enough to make the results less than comparable. On the new poll, the question asked, "if (NAME) runs for president in 2016, would you definitely vote for (him/her), would you consider voting for (him/her), or would you definitely not for for (him/her)?" In 2011, the pollsters framed the question around the general election: "" If (NAME) wins the Republican nomination for president would you definitely vote for him in the general election for president in 2012..." (emphasis added). Via email, Washington Post polling director Scott Clement tells HuffPollster that in 2011, 48 percent of Republicans said they would definitely vote for Romney, 39 percent would consider him and just 7 percent said they would definitely not support him. Much better than Christie now, but the different question wording likely plays a role in the difference. [WashPost 2014 survey, 2011 survey]

However, two other surveys conducted in 2011 used wording similar to the new Post/ABC poll -- i.e. without any specific reference to the general election and in the context of evaluating only the Republican candidates -- and both showed smaller "would not support" numbers for Romney among Republicans than Christie gets now. A Pew Research survey conducted in August 2011 showed just 21 percent of Republicans saying there was "no chance" they could support Romney (28 percent said there was a "good chance" and 48 percent "some chance"). And a Politico-GWU-Battleground conducted in September 2011 found just 20 percent of Republicans who said they would "definitely not" vote for Romney (17 percent said they would definitely support him, 56 percent would consider). So the numbers were modestly better than the 30 percent of Republicans who now rule out voting for Christie...but not much. [Pew Research, GWU]

IMPORTANCE OF CELL PHONE SAMPLES CONTINUES TO GROW - Anzalone Liszt Grove's Bryan Stryker: "Roughly 40 percent of Americans don't own a landline phone, and a further 18 percent have a landline phone, but mostly use their cellphone. In response to this, many pollsters are conscientiously including cellphones in their polls. The Pew Research Center, for one, made a high-profile splash on cellphones recently when it announced it would dial 60 percent of its interviews via cellphone.In today's world, quality pollsters must guarantee their polls include cellphones, and poll consumers should demand the same….Including cells, and a lot of them, will not be the only measure of a quality poll in 2014 and 2016. But campaigns, the media and the poll-consuming public should be skeptical of any poll that doesn't include cellphones." [HuffPost]

WIDE SUPPORT FOR LEGALIZED MEDICAL MARIJUANA - Emily Swanson: "A large majority of Americans want to see medical marijuana legalized, even among people who indicate they live in states where it's now illegal, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. And among those who report medical pot use is legal in their state, a big majority want the drug fully legalized. But the poll also found that some Americans either don't know or have a false impression of where their state stands on marijuana legalization. Seventy percent of respondents favored legalizing medical marijuana, compared to the 17 percent who wanted it to to be illegal. Overall, 51 percent of respondents said they think that general marijuana use should be legal, while only 34 percent said that it should not be." [HuffPost]

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THURSDAY'S 'OUTLIERS' - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-The Fox News poll captures a new low in President Obama's approval rating. [Fox]

-Greg Abbott (R) leads Wendy Davis (R), 53 to 41 percent, in the race for Governor of Texas [Rasmussen]

-Steve Singiser reviews the performance of the UT/Texas Tribune poll in forecasting outcomes in the Texas primary. [Daily Kos]

-The percentage of Americans who say they have been hurt by Obamacare "inches up" from 19 to 23 percent since early February. [Gallup]

-Health insurers have shifted a greater percentage of their television advertising budgets in recent weeks to reaching potential Obamacare enrollees. [Cook Political]

-Republican pollsters John and Jim McLaughlin argue that Obamacare cannot be the Republican's "silver bullet" in 2014. [National Review]

-47 percent of Americans believe that Vladimir Putin poses a threat to the United States. [YouGov]

-Few Russians or Ukrainians support unifying both countries into a single state. [Pew Research]

-Few Crimeans want their region to join Russia. [WashPost's Monkey Cage]

-U.S. Catholics view Pope Francis as a change for the better [Pew Research]

-The number of Americans who feel harmed by Obamacare ticks up. [Gallup]

-Sean Trende says it's time to increase the size of the House of Representatives. [Crystal Ball]

-John Sides argues that "liberalism is alive and well, even among people who call themselves 'conservative.'" [WashPost's Monkey Cage]

-Larry Magid offers advice on how to report on surveys. [Poynter]

-Jonathan Bernstein argues against paying too much attention to the CPAC straw polls. [Bloomberg]

-Iowa's GOP Senate hopefuls are all relative unknowns. [Des Moines Register]

-The percentage of Americans who say they "eat healthy" declined in 2013. [Gallup]

-"Tanner" and "Colton" are probably Republicans. [HuffPost]

-"URGENT NEWS POLL": would Putin be better than Obama? [The Daily Caller asks, and HuffPost follows up]