Murphy holds comfortable lead over GOP challenger in NJ reelection bid: poll

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy attends the "America Is Back" in Trenton, N.J. on June 30, 2021
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is on track to win a second term in office in November, according to a new poll from Stockton University that shows the Democratic incumbent’s support buoyed by his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With less than five weeks to go before Election Day, the poll of 552 likely voters in the Garden State shows Murphy leading his Republican opponent Jack Ciattarelli 50 percent to 41 percent, giving him a 9-point lead well outside of the survey’s 4.1-point margin of error. 

Still, the poll indicates a tighter race than in 2017, when Murphy first won the governor’s mansion. That year, he defeated his Republican rival Kim Guadagno by a 13.5-point margin.

Bolstering Murphy’s standing this time around is his response to the pandemic, the top issue for New Jersey voters in this year’s gubernatorial election. 

Asked which candidate would be better at managing the pandemic, 50 percent of likely voters pointed to Murphy, while just 34 percent said they would prefer Ciattarelli.

That finding comes a week after a Monmouth University poll showed support for Murphy’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic reaching 62 percent. 

When it comes to New Jersey’s economy, however, voters are largely split. Forty-two percent believe that Murphy would be the better steward of the state’s economy, while 43 percent chose Ciattarelli, according to the Stockton University poll. 

Voters are similarly divided on New Jersey’s overall direction, with 44 percent saying that the state is on the right path and 45 percent saying that it’s heading the wrong way. 

Nevertheless, Murphy’s approval rating is well above water. Fifty-four percent of likely voters gave the governor positive reviews for his job performance, while 41 percent say they disapprove of the work he’s doing in office. 

The Stockton University poll surveyed the 552 likely voters using live interviews from Sept. 17-25. 

Tags 2021 elections Jack Ciattarelli New Jersey governor's race New Jersey politics Phil Murphy Polling Stockton University poll
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