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Joe Biden at the Fourth of July Iowa Cubs game at Principal Park in Des Moines, Iowa, July 4, 2019. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Biden approval underwater in New Jersey, 43-49%

Murphy’s approval rating far outruns the president’s

By Joey Fox, October 27 2021 11:00 am

43% of New Jerseyans approve of President Joe Biden and 49% disapprove, according to a new Monmouth University poll released this morning. The president won the state by 16 points in his 2020 campaign against former President Donald Trump.

The poll matches with national polls showing Biden well underwater; according to a running 538 average, Biden holds a 43-51% approval rating nationally as of October 27. It also represents a significant fall for Biden since last month’s Monmouth poll, which put Biden’s approval at 51-41%.

But Biden’s sagging numbers do not seem to be dragging Gov. Phil Murphy down with him. The governor holds a 52-39% approval rating in New Jersey, and leads Republican gubernatorial nominee Jack Ciattarelli by a similar 50-39% margin; the last five times America has elected a new president, New Jersey has elected a governor of the opposite party the next year, but Murphy appears well-positioned to break that trend.

Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, quipped that Biden’s official visit to New Jersey on Monday may have been more for the president’s benefit than for Murphy’s.

“The president’s visit on Monday may have done more to boost Biden rather than Murphy when you look at their approval ratings,” Murray said.

The poll also asked respondents whether Murphy or Biden has been able to get more done in their respective positions. 32% said Murphy, 7% said Biden, and 47% said they’d accomplished about the same amount – a disappointing result for Biden, but also perhaps an understandable one given that he has been in office for three fewer years than Murphy and has had to contend with a more conservative legislature.

Though Biden’s low approval could end up harming Gov. Phil Murphy and state legislative candidates, it’s more likely to impact next year’s battle for Congress. 

Four of New Jersey’s Democratic House members – Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown), Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff), Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes), and Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) – represent marginal seats, and (contingent on redistricting) Biden’s approval ratings could be a severe drag on all four.

The poll’s crosstabs found that Biden is underwater with every age group, and while he holds a 49-43% approval rating with women, he’s at 35-56% with men. Black voters approve of the president 69-24% and Hispanic/Asian voters approve 52-33%, but white voters disapprove of him 36-59%.

Regionally, Biden is at 47-42% in North Jersey, 42-48% in Central Jersey, and a dire 37-58% in South Jersey – the region where he was once called “South Jersey’s third senator” when he represented Delaware in the Senate.

The last time a a Democratic president was serving their first year in the White House was in 2009; that October, a Monmouth poll found President Barack Obama with a 53-39% approval rating in New Jersey, even as Chris Christie and Gov. Jon Corzine were tied at 39% apiece.

The Monmouth University Polling Institute was in the field from October 21-25 with a sample size of 1,000 New Jersey voters and a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.

This story was updated at 3:27 p.m. with data from October 2009.

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