Gov. Phil Murphy has a 64%-16% favorable rating in Newark, a new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of Newark residents released on Monday morning shows.
That gives Murphy a slight edge in Brick City favorables over two favorite sons: U.S. Senator Cory Booker is at 61% and Mayor Ras Baraka is at 60%.
Newark is the state’s largest city and makes up about 2.5% of the total voters statewide, but about 1.7% of the total ballots cast in 2017.
“Murphy seems to be in good shape in Newark,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of Government and Politics at FDU and the poll director. “But all the support in the world doesn’t matter if you can’t get people to the polls, and that’s always the challenge in an off-year election like the one coming up.”
Murphy’s favorables are at 68%-10% among Blacks, 52%-18% among Hispanics, and 59-21% among White voters. Most Portuguese residents of Newark identified as White in the poll.
He is at 74%-7% among Democrats, 51%-21% among independents, and 36%-41% among Republicans. While just 4% of Newark voters are registered Republicans, the 6,958 GOP voters ranks the city 42nd in the state; Newark has about as many Republicans as Roxbury or Mount Olive.
The poll shows Murphy with 55%-10% favorables among women and 59%-18% among men.
In 2017, Murphy received 34,288 votes in Newark, a 94%-5% victory over Republican Kim Guadagno, the state’s Lt. Governor. Four years earlier, when GOP Gov. Chris Christie had the backing of several key Essex County Democrats, 18% of the city’s general election voters supported the Republican nominee.
Turnout in the last gubernatorial election was just 524 votes higher than it was in 2013 but 4,441 fewer than in 2009 when Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine won 90% of the vote.
In the 2020 presidential election, 79,089 votes turned out in a virtually-all vote-by-mail election – a 117% increase over the 2017 gubernatorial election.
It’s not immediately clear how nine days of early in-person voting will affect turnout in Newark this fall.
The last Republican gubernatorial candidate to carry Newark was Thomas Kean in 1985, when he won re-election to a second term with 70% of the vote.
The FDU poll was conducted between July 9 and August 11. It has a sample size of 1,100 Newark residents and a margin of error of +/- 3%.