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Star-Ledger editorial page editor Tom Moran (TWITTER PHOTO)

Murphy approvals aided by decline of print media

By David Wildstein, August 24 2018 1:39 am


The verdict is in: New Jerseyans don’t seem to give a crap about what Tom Moran thinks.

One explanation for Gov. Phil Murphy’s high 54%-32% approval rating could be the rapidly diminishing clout of the old-fashioned print media in New Jersey.

Newspapers have declining circulation and revenues.   They are working with fewer reporters than ever to cover the state.  There used to be a time – not that long ago – when a bad newspaper editorial was a serious matter for a politician.  Intense reporting and editorializing could move poll numbers.  That’s just not the case anymore.  Old media is not as powerful as it once was, although sometimes it seems everybody knows it but them.

In the absence of intense coverage of Murphy by network and cable television reporters and pundits, and without penetratingly bad news, voters in one of the most Democratic states in the nation have no compelling reason to dislike the governor – at least for now.

The Quinnipiac University poll released last week shows that regular voters don’t know about the infighting between Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders, are seemingly unaware of the budget nuances, and don’t seem to be influenced by columnists and editorial writers.  Murphy’s poll numbers — the strongest showing for a first-year governor since pollsters began tracking gubernatorial approvals in the 1970’s – might be evidence of that.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story had a grammatical error that was fixed after Patrick Murray pointed it out.

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