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Essex County Freeholder Director Brendan Gill. Photo by Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe

Christie to blame for Murphy disapprovals, Gill says

By Nikita Biryukov, February 12 2019 2:06 pm

Essex County Freeholder Director Brendan Gill, a close confidant of Gov. Phil Murphy, thinks the former Gov. Chris Christie is to blame for Murphy’s rising disapproval rating in a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday.

“I think they’re solid numbers for a governor who is deep into cleaning up a pretty big mess that was left by his predecessor,” Gill said.

Tuesday’s poll put Murphy’s approval among New Jersey residents at 43%-40%. While those numbers aren’t bad, they’re not a positive change from an April Monmouth poll that pegged murphy’s approvals at 44%-28%.

A February 2011 Monmouth poll put Christie’s approval rating at a slightly better 47%-40%,

“If you look at the headlines from that point in time, it was ‘Christie’s positive ratings continue,” Gill said. “I say that to say how you introduce the story that at the end of the day — the numbers are solid, definitely with some room to grow, and encouraging.”

Part of the problem for Murphy, Gill said, may lie in changes to how New Jerseyans consume their news. While online news was alive and kicking eight years ago, its presence has grown significantly, and legacy media outlets have shifted their focus — and, in some cases, their priorities — to suit the changes to the media landscape.

That, Gill said, could be part of the reason that 25% of the Democratic respondents to Tuesday’s poll said they did not have an opinion of the governor. The same wasn’t true of Republican and unaffiliated New Jerseyans.

Of the former group, 4% did not have an opinion of Murphy, and while the numbers were a bit closer for independents, only 18% of that group said they did not have an opinion on the sitting governor.

So, Gill said, Murphy just needs to keep on keeping on and wait for his policy wins to sink in.

“The governor has accomplished a tremendous amount in his first 13 months in office, both the governor and the legislature,” Gill said “I think over the course of time, as those things are solidified and the message of those things are solidified, you’re going to see a continued increase in his support.”

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