Democratic NJ Gov. Murphy's approval down but still strong after year of COVID restrictions: poll

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A majority of New Jersey voters are giving Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy a thumbs up on the job he’s doing steering the state, but less than half say he deserves a second term in office, a new poll indicates.

According to a Monmouth University survey released Wednesday, 57% of Garden State voters say they approve of the governor’s performance, with 35% disapproving. That’s down from 71% approval last year, amid the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. 


New Jersey was particularly hard hit by the pandemic, forcing the governor to place major restrictions at the time on such businesses as restaurants, gyms, hair and nail salons, barbershops, retail stores, movie theaters, and amusement parks, as well as on museums and places of worship.

The state will join New York and Connecticut in dropping many of the remaining restrictions on May 19, with mask mandates and social distancing regulations remaining in place.

There’s an expected partisan divide over Murphy, with 88% of Democrats, 48% of independents, and just 21% of Republicans approving of the job he’s doing as governor.

New Jersey and Virginia are the only two states in the nation that hold their gubernatorial election in the year after a presidential contest.


According to the poll, 48% of voters say the governor should be re-elected this November, with 43% saying it’s time for someone new in office. Again, there’s a partisan split, with 77% of Democrats, 39% of independents, and 15% of Republicans supporting Murphy’s re-election.

“Murphy has a pretty strong job rating going into his reelection bid. 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,” Monmouth University Polling Institute polling director Patrick Murray said.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted April 29-May 4, with 706 New Jersey adults questioned by telephone. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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