Gov. Phil Murphy has an eight-point lead, 50%-42%, over Republican Jack Ciattarelli in tomorrow’s gubernatorial election, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released on Monday.
“Any good poll consumer needs to remember – especially in an election cycle – that any single poll is a snapshot in time, that poll numbers are estimates with some level of statistical uncertainty, and that they are meant more to explain than predict,” said Ashley Koning, the director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling. “But if we look at the several statewide polls conducted in the last week, the big picture points to a sizable margin for Murphy that – despite narrowing throughout the campaign – will be difficult for Ciattarelli to overcome in the final days, especially in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two-to-one in registration.”
The poll is consistent with 9-point leads for Murphy in Fairleigh Dickinson University and Stockton University polls released last week, but lower than the gold-standard Monmouth University poll that out Murphy in front of Ciattarelli by 11 points.
Koning says that 24% of voters say that they are voting in opposition to a particular candidate rather than for the opponent, and 18% cite their party affiliation.
Nearly half of New Jersey’s voters (46%) identify themselves as moderate, while 25% say they are liberal and 24% identify as conservative.
“Based on voters’ responses, Murphy’s strategy of tying Ciattarelli to Trump seems to be working with some voters, as all but one who mention Trump do so as a reason not to vote for Ciattarelli,” Koning stated. “Voters cite Murphy’s handling of the pandemic as a reason to vote both for him and against him, with a few voters specifically mentioning nursing homes and mask mandates as reasons for their opposition.”
According to the poll, 79% of voters are aware that tomorrow is Election Day, but just 30% knew that the legislature is up in addition to the race for governor. The Legislature has a 30%-26% favorable rating generically.
The poll is of registered voters. The pollster said that models of likely voters offer similar results. The Rutgers-Eagleton poll was in the field from October 21-27 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.9%.