A Monmouth University poll released today finds that 67% of New Jersey adults think Gov. Phil Murphy has done a good job in handling the ongoing Covid pandemic, versus just 25% who said he’s done a bad job.
That total is better than the 55-35% overall approval rating Monmouth found – and far better than the narrow three-point margin by which Murphy won re-election last year. But it’s consistent with previous polling that has put Murphy’s approval on Covid issues well higher than his overall popularity.
“Murphy’s handling of the pandemic has always been a source of strength in public opinion about the governor,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “It just wasn’t the most important issue when voters went to the polls last November.”
The last time Monmouth asked the question of New Jersey adults, in May 2021, the numbers were essentially the same: 66% said the governor had done well, 27% said he hadn’t.
Today’s poll also found that 53% of respondents believe New Jersey has done better at handling Covid than other states, while 14% said the state has done worse and 31% said it’s done about the same. The percentage who said the state has done worse represents something of a drop from Monmouth’s May poll, when 23% of respondents said so.
For a long time, thanks to the initial wave of Covid cases that slammed the New York City metropolitan area, New Jersey had the highest Covid death rate per capita in the country. But after the Delta variant surge in the summer of 2021 tore through less vaccinated parts of the country, the state lost that grim superlative.
The Monmouth University poll was conducted from March 31-April 4 with a sample size of 802 New Jersey adults and a margin of error of +/- 3.5%.