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Gov. Phil Murphy. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe

Murphy approvals at 41% in new Monmouth poll

Governor hasn’t moved the needle much this year on winning over New Jerseyans

By David Wildstein, September 17 2019 1:00 pm

Approval ratings for Gov. Phil Murphy continues to be stuck in the mud as he approaches his mid-term elections with a 41%-38% approval rating that largely mirrors where he was seven months ago, according to a new Monmouth University Poll released today.

Murphy had statistically similar 43%-40% approvals in a February 2019 Monmouth poll.

Among registered voters, which offers a somewhat more accurate read of what the electorate is thinking as it relates to the upcoming November general election, Murphy is at 40%-41%.  He was at 42%-43% among registered voters in February.

“Murphy’s approval rating has been stuck at a nearly even split this year.  Recent events, such as the Newark water crisis, have not helped cast him in the best light.  But the bigger issue seems to be that he is simply flying under the radar for most New Jerseyans,” said Monmouth University Polling Institute Director Patrick Murray.

Among Democrats, Murphy has approvals of 71%-11% — not as strong a number as it should be, but not low enough to cause concern about a serious primary challenge.  Murphy went up five points among Democrats since February.

He’s upside-down among independent voters, 28%-49%.

Murphy has a 45%-33% approval rating in North Jersey, 38%-46% in Central Jersey, and 36%-41% in South Jersey.

Nearly half of the New Jerseyans (49%) say that Murphy is more concerned about his own political future than governing the state, while one-third (33%) say he’s focused on his gubernatorial responsibilities.  Another 4% think Murphy has done both.

Twenty months after taking office, just 12% of state residents think Murphy has had major accomplishments as governor.  A little more than 4 out of 10 (42%) say he’s had some minor accomplishments, and 36% believe he’s had no real accomplishments at all.

New Jerseyans don’t view Murphy has having come to the assistance of transit riders.  Just 16% say he’s helped them, 18% believe he’s hurt them, and 29% say the governor has had no real impact in fixing the state’s beleaguered New Jersey Transit system.

Views that Murphy’s call for a “Stronger and Fairer” economy have not had any real impact on helping the poor and middle class:

* Middle class residents: 17% say Murphy has helped, 31% think he’s hurt them,  and 36% say he’s had no impact.

* Poor residents: 25% say the governor has helped them, 21% believe his policies have heart them, and 32% view Murphy as having no impact.

Murphy, who made his support of a millionaire’s tax the cornerstone of his budget plan, is actually viewed as being more helpful than hurtful toward wealthy New Jersey residents, by a 27%-14% margin.  Still, 31% say he’s had no impact.

On the hotbed issue of property taxes, just 10% of New Jersey residents say Murphy has helped property tax payers while 39% believe he has hurt them and 33% view his administration as having no impact one way or the other.

Not included in the Monmouth poll are questions regarding tax incentives and the controversy surrounding the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted from September 12 -16 with a sample size of 713 New Jersey adults and a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.

September 2019 Monmouth Poll
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