Republican Jack Ciattarelli now trials Gov. Phil Murphy by six points, 50%-44%, according to an Emerson College/PIX 11 News poll released on Thursday.
Among the glaring differences between this poll and New Jersey-based independent pollsters is on Ciattarelli’s name ID. A Stockton University poll from more than three weeks ago said that 45% of New Jersey voters were unfamiliar with the GOP challenger. The new poll says that number has dropped to 16%.
Murphy’s favorables of 49%-47%, with Ciattarelli at 40%-40%. Among likely voters, Murphy’s approvals of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic are at 56%-38% — slightly less than other public polls.
Among undecided voters, the poll showed Ciattarelli with a 59%-41% advantage. With leaners, Ciattarelli is just outside the margin of error, with Murphy ahead, 52%-48%. Still, asked which candidate could best handle New Jersey’s Covid recovery, 52% picked Murphy and 48% named Ciattarelli.
Of those who have already voted — 339,622 mail-in ballots have already been returned — Murphy has a 76%-24% lead.
Voters somewhat likely to vote give Murphy a 45%-40% lead, but Ciattarelli jumps to a 48%-45% lead among very likely voters.
Ciattarelli is up 56%-32% among independent voters in New Jersey.
More than half of New Jersey voters – 51% — said taxes are their top issue.
This is the closest poll yet in the New Jersey governor’s race. Murphy had a 9-point lead in the Stockton poll and was up 13 points in a Monmouth University poll – the gold standard of New Jersey polls — released on September 22.
Murphy leads among women, 57%-40%, with Ciattarelli ahead 50%-41% among men.
The poll was conducted between October 15-18 with a sample size of 600 likely New Jersey voters and has a margin of error of +/- 3.9%. The Emerson College poll has an A- rating from FiveThirtyEight, which grades polling organizations based on prior performance.