Murphy job approvals at 57% in Monmouth poll

By David WildsteinMay 05 2021

New Jersey Globe

Gov. Phil Murphy. 


Six months before voters decide if they want to keep him for another four years, Gov. Phil Murphy has job approvals of 57%-35% among adult New Jersey residents, according to a Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday.

Murphy’s numbers are down from April 2020, when his approvals skyrocketed to 71%-21% during the first month of the coronavirus pandemic.  Pundits and strategists from both parties said at the time that a drop back to earth was inevitable.

But Murphy still hasn’t closed his deal for re-election in a heavily blue state that hasn’t re-elected a Democratic governor in 44 years.

Slightly less than half of New Jerseyans polled (48%) say that he should be re-elected, while 43% said he should not.

“Murphy has a pretty strong job rating going into his reelection bid,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.  “However, New Jersey voters are a fickle lot and a good number will sit on the fence until we get closer to the fall campaign in case things go south for the state.”

Murray noted that in 2013, then-Gov. Chris Christie had approvals that were higher than his re-elect numbers.

Twelve years ago, when Christie ousted Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, a May 2009 Quinnipiac University poll had Corzine’s job approval at an upside-down 38%-53%.  In a head-to-head poll — Monmouth hasn’t done that yet — Christie led Corzine by seven points, 45%-38%.  Christie won that race by a 48.5%-44.9% margin, a plurality of 43,139 votes.

One out of five New Jersey Republicans – 21% — give Murphy a positive job approval, and 15% of Republicans think he should be re-elected.

Democrats approve of Murphy’s job performance by an 88%-6% margin.  He’ll get 100% in the Democratic primary next month, since he’s running unopposed.

Independents approve of Murphy’s job as governor by a 48%-44% margin.

The governor’s approvals are statistically identical among registered voters, 57%-36%.  The Monmouth poll did not narrow it’s sample to likely voters.

Murphy is at 64%-29% in North Jersey, 53%-37% in Central Jersey, and 48%-43% in South Jersey.  He’s just slightly upside-down among White adults (45%-47%) but has a 75%-18% job approval rating among Black, Hispanic and Asian residents of the state.

Among women, Murphy has approvals of 65%-25%; he’s at 48%-45% among men.

By a 49%-43% margin, New Jerseyans said Murphy is more concerned with governing the state than his own political future.

More than one-third of adults polled (34%) said Murphy has had major accomplishments during his first term as governor, and another 37% viewed is achievements as minor.  Just a little more than a quarter of the state (27%) said the governor had no real accomplishments.

The best news for Murphy’s likely Republican opponent, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, comes from a question on property taxes and the governor’s impact on businesses in the Garden State.

Asked if Murphy’s policies have helped or hurt people who pay property taxes, just 14% say he’s helped then and 46% believe he’s hurt them.  Among independents, the number of adults who think Murphy has hurt them jumps to 52%.

“New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property tax burden is a perennial thorn for state officeholders,” said Murray.  “It could pose a problem for Murphy if it becomes a high priority issue for voters in the fall campaign. As things stand right now, though, it isn’t.”

A full 46% of New Jersey adults say Murphy’s policies have hurt businesses, while just 28% say he’s helped them.

And 36% of the state say Murphy, who has framed his agenda as “stronger and fairer,” has actually hurt the middle class with his policies.  31% say he’s helped the middle class, and 25% view him as having no impact.

“A lot of New Jerseyans feel like they’ve already been bitten by a governor who cruised to reelection during a time of crisis,” Murray stated. “I think that probably dampens some voters’ enthusiasm about giving Murphy a second term.”

That number who says he’s hurt the middle class climbs to 44% among New Jersey residents who have children living at home, and to 47% among white adults.

Murphy’s numbers on his policies to benefit poor New Jerseyans: 43% says he’s helped them and 22% view him as hurting them.  He’s at 41% helped and 19% hurt among adults who reported incomes of less than $50,000 annually, but he’s at 47%-12% among adults of color.

Despite approval of an increased income tax on millionaires, 21% of the state say Murphy has helped wealthy New Jersey and 21% say he’s hurt them.

Five weeks ago, a Stockton University poll put Murphy’s approvals at 58%-36%.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted from April 29 to May 4 with a sample size of 706 adults and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-05-06 02:11:04 -0700