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Poll: Murphy viewed favorably shortly into term

Many still unfamiliar with freshman governor

By Nikita Biryukov, April 04 2018 1:32 pm

One thing’s clear a few months into Gov. Phil Murphy’s term – he’s more popular than former Gov. Chris Christie was on his way out.

A recent poll conducted by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy’s Stockton Polling Institute found 40% of the 728 New Jersey adults polled held very or somewhat favorable views of the new Governor, while 27% t of respondents viewed Murphy somewhat or very unfavorably.

And though he was elected almost six months ago, 10% of New Jerseyans said they were unfamiliar with Murphy, while 23% said they were unsure what they thought about the governor, who was a Goldman Sachs executive and U.S. ambassador before he was elected in 2017.

These results largely fell along party lines, said John Froonjian, senior research associate for the institute. The same was true for results measuring President Donald Trump’s favorability.

The poll found that 31.1 percent of respondents held favorable views of the president, while roughly twice as many, 63%, viewed Trump unfavorably. Here, only 5% said they were unfamiliar or unsure what to think about the country’s 45th president.

The poll holds some good news for congressional Democrats in battleground districts, as 48% of respondents said they would vote for the Democrat in their district on a generic ballot. The generic Republican candidate would receive 33% of respondents’ support, and 14 percent of respondents said they were unsure how they would vote come November.

Those results could indicate a positive trend for the state’s Democrats, said Michael Klein, the polling center’s interim executive director.

“If we’re blue, we’re becoming bluer,” Klein said.

In fact, Froonjian said these results bucked the national trend, and could spell trouble for Republican incumbents like Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton) in the state’s seventh congressional district and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-Toms River) in the state’s third congressional district.

It also may not bode well for the Republicans vying to fill retiring Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s seat in the 11th congressional district.

“I’m looking at these questions, and I’ve seen that these numbers have tightened nationally,” Froonjian said. “But, the fact that these numbers are wider in New Jersey, I think it has implications in the New Jersey elections where people see these races as becoming competitive.”

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