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Gov. Phil Murphy.

Eagleton poll finds Murphy job approvals at a solid 55%

Figures have edged down from highs reached during pandemic

By Nikita Biryukov, June 07 2021 3:05 pm

Most New Jerseyans still approve of the job Gov. Phil Murphy is doing, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released Monday.

Only adults were polled — not registered voters or likely voters — and the some of the data is as much at 17 days old.

A little more than half of respondents, 55%, said they approved of Murphy’s job performance, while 40% said they disapproved and 4% did not know.

The governor’s favorability rating is also above water, with 47% of New Jersey adults saying they held a favorable view of Murphy, and 36% saying they had an unfavorable one.

Both those figures are down slightly from an October 2020 Eagleton poll that found 54% of respondents viewed the governor favorably and 28% viewed him unfavorably. Sixty-Two percent approved of the job he was doing as governor in the earlier poll, while 33% disapproved.

“The ‘rally around the flag’ effect the pandemic has had on Governor Murphy’s ratings in the past year is inevitably coming to an end,” said Ashley Koning, director of Rutgers University’s Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. “But the Governor still garners the kind of ratings most politicians envy, especially in a reelection year and during an increasingly polarizing crisis and recovery process.”

Some adults, 14% had no opinion of the governor, and 3% said they did not know who he was.

A slim majority of respondents, 52%, said they believed New Jersey was headed in the right direction, while 41% said it had gotten off course.

“New Jerseyans’ outlook on the state has improved over the last few years,” Koning said. “These numbers were practically flipped back in 2019, when 44% of residents thought New Jersey was going in the right direction and 56 percent thought it was off on the wrong track.”

Most residents gave the governor high marks for his handling of the pandemic, with 31% saying he had earned an A grade, 23% saying he’d earned a B, and 13% saying he’d earned a C. About a third of residents gave him poor marks, with 10% saying he deserved a D and 23% saying he should get an F.

Residents viewed his handling of the pandemic more favorably than they viewed his overall job performance.

On the latter, 15% said he earned an A, while 32% said he deserved a B and 20% said they’d grade his performance with a C. About a third gave him poor marks overall, with 14% saying he deserved a D and 19% saying he’d earned a failing grade.

New Jersey adults liked President Joe Biden, with 55% reporting a favorable opinion of the president and 35% reporting a negative one. Nine percent of respondents had no opinion, but they all knew who Biden was.

Biden’s job approvals were a little bit higher. Fifty-six percent said they approved of his first few months as president, while 36% disapproved and 8% did not know.

Local elected officials also got high marks from their constituents. Twenty-eight percent of respondents gave their local lawmakers an A, 30% gave them a B, and 22% said they deserved a C grade. Just 11% said their local elected officials had earned a D, and only 8% would give them an F.

The Rutgers-Eagleton Poll was conducted from May 21-29 with a sample of 1,004 New Jersey adults with a margin of error of +/- 3.8%.

Questions on Murphy and Biden’s job approval ratings, as well as on letter grades for local county officials, had samples of 483, 492 and 471. Such split samples were used to allow pollsters to ask a greater number of questions, Koning said.

Rutgers-Eagleton-Poll-Murphy-Ratings-June-7-2021 NJ
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