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Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

New Jersey voters like Murphy, poll shows

Democratic governor has 54%-32% approvals after 7 months in office

By David Wildstein, August 22 2018 11:09 am

Gov. Phil Murphy has a 54%-32% approval rating after his first seven months in office, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released today.

The poll makes Murphy the most popular first-year governor since at least 1974, when public polls began recording gubernatorial approval ratings.  His popularity comes despite internal struggles with his fellow Democrats in the Legislature – a battle that appears to have not reached New Jersey voters.

The Legislature has an upside-down overall job approval rating of 35%-42%, a number that is largely insignificant.

Murphy has approvals of 82%-7% among Democrats, 25%-64% among Republicans, and, 45%-39% among independents.

“These numbers reflect what the people of New Jersey have been saying for years: they are ready to move on from the Christie administration and the failed special interest politics that have plagued our state for so long,” said Brendan Gill, a political advisor to Murphy and the head of the governors (c)(4) advocacy group.  “Governor Murphy came into office with a clear mandate to build a stronger and fairer New Jersey that works for every family in our state, and the electorate is clearly responding to the incredible job he’s done fulfilling that promise in his first seven months in office. Governor Murphy is moving New Jersey in a new direction- just as he said he would- and people across New Jersey are agreeing with that change.”

Murphy’s numbers are good across evert demographic: 71% among voters 18-34; 49%-37% among women; and 6% among non-white voters.  Murphy is narrowly right-side-up among senior citizens: 42%-40%.

“New Jersey voters are warming to Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. They give him less than stellar grades, however, on his handling of mass transit as commuters struggle with delays and cancellations on NJ TRANSIT this summer,” said Mary Snow, a Quinnipiac polling analyst.

One possible Murphy challenge is his leadership on mass transit issues.  Just 4% of New Jersey voters gave the fledgling governor an A, with 22% gave him a B, 32% awarded him a C, and 12% graded him with a D.  14% of New Jerseyans gave Murphy an F.

The poll largely mirrors an internal Murphy poll conducted last month, after a brief state budget standoff.  NJ.com reported Murphy with a 56%-38% approval rating.

Murphy had approvals of 44%-33% in March, two months after becoming governor and the last time Quinnipiac polled New Jersey.

From August 15 – 20, Quinnipiac University surveyed 908 New Jersey voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.6 percentage points, including the design effect. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones.

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