Gov. Phil Murphy’s job approval numbers have catapulted to 71%-21%, with 79% of New Jerseyans saying he’s done a good job protecting the state during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Monmouth University Poll released this morning.
The COVID-19 crisis, which has put Murphy on national network and cable news shows once or twice a day for the last few weeks, has moved the first-term governor to heights of popularity New Jersey hasn’t seen since Gov. Chris Christie after superstorm Sandy.
“Not only are Murphy’s approval numbers up, but more New Jerseyans are taking notice than during the first two years of his term,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “Leadership becomes much more relevant in a crisis and Murphy is getting solid reviews for his response.”
More than 6 out of 10 New Jerseyans (64%) say measures taken by state government to slow the spread of COVID-19 were appropriate. More than twice as many state residents (23%) say the actions didn’t go far enough than the 11% who said New Jersey had gone too far.
In comparison, 51% of New Jersey adults think the federal government has not gone far enough in their measures to control the virus, while 42% say they were appropriate and 5% say they’ve gone too far.
Murphy’s approvals among Democrats are at a near-perfect 92%-5%. He is at 69%-21% among independents, and 45%-45% among Republicans.
He is at 79%-10% in North Jersey, 71%-23% in Central Jersey, and 61%-29% in South Jersey. Murphy is at 78% among young adult New Jerseyans, and 80% among African American, Hispanic and Asian adults.
The governor’s 77%-15% approvals on his handling of the coronavirus outbreak break far across party lines. He’s at 91%-4% among Democrats and 75%-12% among independents. Republicans approve of Murphy’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis by a 71%-17% margin.
A September 2019 Monmouth Poll had Murphy’s approvals at 41%-37%.
The only issue where there is even noticeable opposition from the public has been Murphy’s decision to close county and state parks, although even this is hugely popular.
According to the Monmouth Poll, 70% approve the closures, while 29% disapprove. Among Republicans, that number is at 55%-43%. That puts Murphy’s lone announced GOP opponent, former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough) on the wrong side of the issue by twelve points even among members of his own party.
“Shutting down state and county parks has probably sparked the biggest public pushback against the governor,” Murphy said. “The outcry is largely partisan, perhaps because it is the one area where GOP politicians feel they can criticize the governor without looking uncooperative.”
An overwhelming majority of New Jerseyans (87%) approve of Murphy’s announcement that schools would remain closed until at least May 15. Just 11% disapprove.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from April 16-19 with 704 New Jersey adults and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.MonmouthPoll_NJ_042120_Redacted