Click play for audio version of this story
Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver eyed a Monmouth University poll released earlier this week that showed Gov. Phil Murphy’s approvals lagging behind those of some his predecessors with skepticism Friday.
“The polls didn’t call my house. They didn’t call my neighbors. They didn’t call the people I interact with every day,” Oliver said. “I travel the length and breadth of this state, as do many of you in the press corps., and I get very positive feedback and review from people in the state in terms of the governor’s leadership.”
The poll pegged Murphy’s approvals at 41%-38% among the state’s residents and 40%-41% among New Jersey’s registered voters.
The results are little different from those Monmouth reported in February, when Murphy earned a slightly-higher approval rating of 43%-40%.
Even the rosier figures put Murphy behind his immediate predecessor, former Gov. Chris Christie.
An August 2011 Monmouth poll put Christie’s approvals at 48%-42%, and another released that October found 54% approved of the then-governor while 38% disapproved.
Former Gov. Jon Corzine earned a 46%-42% approval rating in September 2007, according to a Monmouth poll conducted at the time.
Murphy’s numbers did beat those of former Gov. James McGreevey, whom a September 2003 Rutgers-Eagleton poll gave a 38%-40% approval rating.
It’s yet unclear what effect Murphy will have on the year’s Assembly races.
Some Republican candidates in the state — Cumberland County GOP Chairman Michael Testa, for instance — have made attacks against the progressive governor a central tenet of their campaigns, but it remains to be seen how effective those attacks will prove, even in typically conservative districts like the first.
Oliver, for one, did not appear worried.
“I am one that does not always embrace polling,” Oliver said. “Life in the political realm has taught me that polls do not necessarily translate into the opinions of people.”