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Murphy job approvals at 47%-43% in new Rutgers-Eagleton poll

50% of New Jerseyans say the state is on the wrong track

By David Wildstein, May 26 2023 5:00 am

Gov. Phil Murphy has job approvals of 47%-43% as he heads into his final month of negotiating the state budget with a legislature that is on the ballot in the fall mid-term election, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll of adult New Jersey residents released this morning.

New Jerseyans give Murphy favorables of 37%-31%.  And 50% of the state think New Jersey is on the wrong track, while 42% say it’s headed in the right direction; 53% of independents said wrong track.

Murphy remains wildly popular among Democrats (81%-15%), but essentially even among independents (43%-42%); he’s upside-down among Republicans (14%-81%).   He’s at 51%-39% among women and upside-down at 43%-49% among men.  Murphy is also at 47%-38% among non-white New Jerseyans, and at 48%-47% among

“Residents’ views on where the state is headed have always been mixed throughout Murphy’s tenure – a sharp contrast from the extreme highs and lows during the Christie administration and an indication of the hyper-partisanship and polarization that have permeated politics both statewide and nationwide,” said Ashley Koning, the poll director.

Asked to grade Murphy’s job performance on New Jersey economy and jobs, 11% gave him an “A,” 23% awarded him a “B,” 30% conferred a grade of “C,” 15% said he earned a “D,” an 17% failed him.   On taxes, 40% of the state gave him a failing grade; he got an “A” from just 4%, while 14% gave him a “B,” 20% a “C,” and 21% a “D.”   Among independents, 60% of New Jerseyans gave Murphy a “D” or an “F” on taxes.

Murphy’s grade for handling the state budget and government spending: 6% awarded him an “A,” 18% a “B,” 27% a “C,” 17% a “D,” and 25% an “F.”   On the cost of living and affordability, Murphy earned an “A,” from only 2% of New Jersey residents; 9% gave him a “B,” 25% a “C,” 21% a “D,” and 43% offered him a failing grade.

Grades for his job on education and schools, 14% gave Murphy an “A,” 23% a “B,” 23% a “C,” 13% a “D,” and 22% an “F.”

Murphy’s favorables in the Rutgers-Eagleton poll are similar to job approvals in a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll in the field during the same period that had the two-term Democratic governor at 44%-39%.   Murphy was at 48%-36% in an FDU poll released in February and at 52%-36% in a Monmouth University poll released just before Murphy began his sixth year as governor in January.

Murphy remains more popular than Republican Chris Christie was at roughly the same point in his governorship.  Christie was upside-down at 30%-55% in a June 2015 FDU poll.

A June 1999 Quinnipiac University poll set job approvals for New Jersey’s Republican governor, Christine Todd Whitman, at 55%-37% about midway through her sixth year in office.  In the same poll, former Gov. Jim Florio, whom Whitman ousted in 1993, still had upside-down favorables (25%-34%).  Whitman and Florio were both seeking an open U.S. Senate seat.

The poll was conducted between April 27 and May 5 with a sample size of 1,002 adults and a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.

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