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

Poll: Gov. Murphy approvals at 52%-43%

New Jerseyans like Murphy, but are not yet impressed by accomplishments

By David Wildstein, April 04 2019 12:01 am

Gov. Phil Murphy has 52%-43% job approval rating, according to a new poll conducted jointly by Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

He was at 43%-28% in a November 2018 Rutgers-Eagleton pol, and at 49%-31% in an October 2018 Fairleigh Dickinson poll.

Murphy has approvals of 79%-15% among Democrats but is upside-down among independents at 46%-51% and with Republicans, 14%-82%.

“These numbers are similar to both of his most recent predecessors, Governors Chris Christie and Jon Corzine at a similar time in their administrations,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of government at Fairleigh Dickinson University and director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll. “One went on to a second term, while the other was defeated two years later.”

Christie was at 44%-42% in an April 2011 Rutgers-Eagleton poll.  Fairleigh Dickinson had Corzine at 55%-25% in March 2007 poll.

The governor does best among women (55%-39%) and non-white voters (66%-27%).  Murphy is about even among men (49%-48%) and is upside-down among white voters (43%-55%).

Millennials like Murphy, with a 62%-32% approval rating among voters under age 35, and 57%-38% among voters ages 35 to 49.  He drops to an upside-down 42%-55% with voters 50-64, while voters ages 65 and older are split at 49%-49%.

While Murphy’s overall approval numbers are good, just 11% of New Jerseyans say he’s had major accomplishments after nearly fifteen months in office while 36% view the governor’s accomplishments as minor.  Less than half (45%) of residents polled say Murphy has had no real accomplishments yet.

Only 19% of Democrats and 7% of independents say Murphy has had major accomplishments, while 47% of Democrats and 33% of independents rate his accomplishments as minor.

Just 19% of New Jerseyans say Murphy is doing better than they expected, while 26% say he’s worse.  Half of New Jersey (50%) thin Murphy’s job performance is just what they expected.

“The governor wields significant power in the state and has a Democratic legislature. Despite these advantages, the public isn’t impressed on issues that often draw the most complaints from Garden State residents like taxes, the budget, transportation and jobs,” said Jenkins.

In specific policy areas, voters give Murphy mostly unfavorable approvals.  He’s at 46%-48% on the state’s economy and jobs, 29%-64% on taxes, 34%-54% on the state budget, 30%-50% on the state pension fund, and 43%-46% on transportation and infrastructure.

Murphy’s best marks come from his handling of weather-related emergencies, where New Jerseyans give in approvals of 59%-36%.  He’s at 49%-41% on education and schools, and 46%-40% on the criminal justice system, 47%-41% on the state’s drug policies, and 46%-40% on the criminal justice system.  He has mixed approvals of 45%-45% on his handling of healthcare issues.

The poll contacted 1,203 adults between March 7-22.  Of this sample, 621 were contacted on landlines and cellphones and 582 through an online probability-based panel.  The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.

Murphy - Full Version - Eagleton-FDU Poll - 4.4.19 - EMBARGOED FINAL PDF
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