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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Most residents approve of Murphy virus response, back opening gyms

By Nikita Biryukov, August 10 2020 10:58 am

A majority of residents still approve of Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, but most think it’s time for the state to reopen its gyms, according to a new poll commissioned by the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey.

More than half of residents, 57%, said they strongly or somewhat favored reopening gyms, while 37% strongly or somewhat opposed the same.

That puts support for reopening gyms behind support for the governor’s virus response. Six-in-ten voters approved of Murphy’s handling of the pandemic, while 39% disapproved.

The governor’s job approvals were a slightly-lower 54%-43%.

Support for opening gyms ticked up when some specific virus safeguards were mentioned. As many as 70% of respondents said they found capacity limits and social distancing requirements for gyms to be very or somewhat persuasive.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents said pro-reopening arguments about lockdown-related job losses and the benefits gyms provide to urban community were persuasive, and 71% said the same about arguments leveraging cold weather expected to hit the state in autumn and winter.

While many New Jersey businesses have been allowed to operate under some restrictions, gyms have remained closed with little to suggest an about-face from Murphy.

“New Jersey cannot afford to fall further behind. Our comeback can only truly begin by getting the state working — and working out — again.” said Anthony Russo, President of the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey. “Reopening gyms will help our collective mental, physical and financial health. It can be done safely, and we now know it has the support of a wide majority of New Jerseyans.”

The poll was conducted by Harper Polling using cellphone text message solicitations and via landlines using interactive voice response technology.

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