Home>Campaigns>Democratic pollster says N.J. gubernatorial race could be dead heat

Gov. Phil Murphy, left. and former Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. (Photos: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.)

Democratic pollster says N.J. gubernatorial race could be dead heat

Poll also finds Biden approvals above water at 53-44% in New Jersey

By Joey Fox, October 22 2021 12:37 pm

A Democratic pollster has Gov. Phil Murphy leading by nine points, 50%-41%, over Republican Jack Ciattarelli, but finds that the New Jersey governor’s race might be closer than it appears if turnout doesn’t extend beyond high propensity odd-year voters.

The poll was conducted by Schoen Cooperman, which often collaborates with Democrats but is apparently not affiliated with a candidate in the race. Doug Schoen was President Bill Clinton’s pollster in 1996 and has worked for Michael Bloomberg for the last 20 years.

Among voters who vote in all gubernatorial elections, Murphy leads 49%-45%; among those who are certain to vote this year, Murphy is up only 48%-46%. So far, Democrats have returned an estimated 145,489 more mail ballots than Republicans, but that advantage is unlikely to be replicated for in-person voting.

The poll also gives President Joe Biden a 53%-44% approval rating in the state. While that’s lower than his 57%-41% margin over former President Donald Trump in 2020, it’s largely in line with approval ratings of other Democrats like Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, and indicates that Biden likely isn’t providing much of a drag effect for Murphy.

With a Stockton University poll from three weeks ago giving Murphy an identical nine-point lead and an Emerson College poll yesterday finding Murphy up by six points, the polling consensus seems to have shifted from a double-digit to a single-digit race.

However, the gold-standard Monmouth University poll is likely to release one more survey, which will be the final word in the race – that is, until Election Day.

The Schoen Cooperman poll was conducted from October 9-12 and released last Friday, but was not widely distributed or noticed. It did not include a margin of error.

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