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Majority Approval for Murphy, Biden

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

But governor’s reelect number lags job rating

West Long Branch, NJ – Gov. Phil Murphy earns a solid majority job approval rating in the latest Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll of New Jersey residents, although the number of voters who are ready to endorse a second term for him falls just below the majority mark. Heading into his reelection bid this fall, Murphy is running slightly behind his predecessor on some key metrics. The poll also finds net positive ratings for other Democratic officeholders, including the U.S. President, the state’s two U.S. Senators, and the New Jersey legislature.

Murphy earns a 57% approve and 35% disapprove rating from New Jersey residents for the overall job he is doing as governor. This is down from his 71% approve and 21% disapprove rating last year, as the coronavirus pandemic was in its early stages. However, it remains significantly better than his prior job ratings, which were more evenly divided. The governor’s job approval number stands at 88% among Democrats (similar to 92% in April 2020), 48% among independents (down from 69% last year), and 21% among Republicans (down from 45% last year).

“Murphy has a pretty strong job rating going into his reelection bid. However, New Jersey voters are a fickle lot and a good number will sit on the fence until we get closer to the fall campaign in case things go south for the state,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Looking ahead to November’s election, 48% say Murphy should be reelected while 43% feel it is time to have someone else in office. Support for the incumbent’s reelection stands at 77% among Democrats, 39% among independents, and 15% among Republicans. For context, when Chris Christie ran for reelection in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, he had an even higher job rating than Murphy does now, but his reelect number was also a few points lower than his job rating benchmark. Specifically, Murphy’s predecessor held a 63% job approval rating and 56% support for reelection in April 2013. Christie ended up winning a second term that year with 60% of the votes cast.

A somewhat greater number of New Jerseyans see Murphy as being more concerned about governing the state (49%) than he is about his own political future (41%). This is a shift from polls taken two years ago, when residents were somewhat more likely to see Murphy as being primarily concerned with his political career. When Christie ran for reelection, 44% said he was more concerned about the state and 38% said he was more concerned about his own future (Sept. 2013). Those numbers flipped right after the election, though, and the gap continued to widen throughout his second term. Christie left office with just 14% saying he was more concerned about the state and 79% saying he was more concerned about himself (July 2017).

“A lot of New Jerseyans feel like they’ve already been bitten by a governor who cruised to reelection during a time of crisis. I think that probably dampens some voters’ enthusiasm about giving Murphy a second term,” said Murray.

A third (34%) of the public says that Murphy has major accomplishments he can point to and another 37% say he has minor accomplishments, while 25% say he has no real accomplishments. In September 2019, just 12% said Murphy had major accomplishments and 42% credited him with minor accomplishments. Going back eight years, 36% said then-Gov. Christie had major accomplishments and 49% said he had minor accomplishments (Sept. 2013).

The poll also asked about how Murphy’s policies have impacted six different constituent groups in New Jersey. The results include both positive news and some warning signs. More than 4 in 10 (43%) say poor residents have been helped by the governor’s policies, while 22% say they have been hurt and 22% say there has been no impact. Two years ago, a much smaller number (25%) said Murphy had helped poor residents. The poll also finds 31% who say Murphy has helped middle class residents and 36% who say his policies have hurt this group, with another 25% who say there has been no impact. While public opinion is divided on the middle class impact of Murphy’s policies, this metric was more negative in 2019 (17% helped and 31% hurt, with 36% saying no impact).

The poll also finds a slight uptick for the impact of Murphy’s policies on transit riders – 24% helped and 18% hurt, with 27% saying no impact. This compares with 16% helped, 18% hurt, and 29% no impact in September 2019. Opinion is split on how Murphy has impacted wealthy residents (21% helped, 21% hurt, 38% no impact) and businesses in the state (33% helped, 39% hurt, 15% no impact).

Opinion is decidedly more negative on how Murphy’s policies have affected New Jersey’s property tax payers. Nearly half (46%) say this group has been hurt and just 14% say they have been helped by the current administration. Another 26% say Murphy’s policies have had no impact on state property tax payers.

“New Jersey’s highest-in-the-nation property tax burden is a perennial thorn for state officeholders. It could pose a problem for Murphy if it becomes a high priority issue for voters in the fall campaign. As things stand right now, though, it isn’t,” said Murray.

The poll included job ratings for other elected officials. New Jersey’s junior U.S. Senator, Cory Booker, currently earns a 57% approve and 35% disapprove rating. This registers as his highest nominal approval level in Monmouth polls since he took office in late 2013. Booker’s prior high mark was 54% approve in April 2018.

Sen. Bob Menendez receives a net positive 46% approve and 36% disapprove rating while President Joe Biden has a 55% approve and 39% disapprove rating among New Jersey residents. The state legislature as a body gets a 47% approve and 38% disapprove rating. This result is slightly lower than the legislature’s rating from one year ago, but it is still higher than prior Monmouth polls going back to 2007 (with the exception of a matching 47% approval mark in January 2014).

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from April 29 to May 4, 2021 with 706 New Jersey adults.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS                                                             

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1 held for future release.]

2.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Phil Murphy is doing as governor?


TREND: All adults
May
2021
April
2020
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Approve57%71%41%43%44%
Disapprove35%21%38%40%28%
(VOL) No opinion8%8%21%17%28%
   (n)(706)(704)(713)(604)(703)

TREND: Registered voters
May
2021
April
2020
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Approve57%72%40%42%43%
Disapprove36%21%41%43%30%
(VOL) No opinion7%7%19%16%27%
   (n)(661)(635)(651)(549)(632)

3.Do you approve or disapprove of the job the state legislature is doing?


TREND: All adults
May
2021
April
2020
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Approve47%54%33%37%36%
Disapprove38%27%42%42%39%
(VOL) No opinion14%19%25%21%24%
   (n)(706)(704)(713)(604)(703)
TREND: Registered votersMay
2021
April
2020
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
July 2017May
2016
July
2015
May
2015
Feb.
2015
Sept.
2014
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Jan.
2014
Approve47%56%32%35%34%23%29%32%33%37%35%36%38%38%47%
Disapprove40%28%45%45%42%62%53%51%48%46%46%48%46%47%35%
(VOL) No opinion12%16%22%20%24%15%19%17%19%17%19%17%15%14%18%
   (n)(661)(635)(651)(549)(632)(758)(703)(453)(441)(712)(680)(717)(690)(690)(470)
TREND: Registered voters
continued
Dec. 2013Sept. 2013April 2013Feb. 2013Dec. 2012Sept. 2012July 2012April 2012Feb. 2012Oct. 2011Aug. 2011May 2011Feb. 2011July 2010April 2010Feb. 2010
Approve44%38%41%40%43%32%34%37%34%33%35%32%29%25%19%24%
Disapprove38%36%42%35%34%43%45%41%42%45%48%48%45%49%57%49%
(VOL) Don’t know19%27%17%25%22%25%21%23%24%22%17%20%26%26%24%27%
(n)(698)(674)(694)(697)(726)(715)(678)(692)(709)(693)(730)(725)(718)(747)(719)(716)
TREND: Registered voters
continued
July
2009
Feb.
2009
Sept.
2008
July
2008
April
2008
March
2008
Oct.
2007
Feb.
2007
Approve31%23%29%27%28%25%32%34%
Disapprove48%55%50%47%55%53%43%42%
(VOL) Don’t know22%22%21%26%17%22%25%23%
(n)(792)(721)(709)(889)(720)(719)(688)(681)

4.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president?

All adultsMay
2021
Approve55%
Disapprove39%
(VOL) Don’t know6%
   (n)(706)
Registered votersMay
2021
Approve55%
Disapprove40%
(VOL) Don’t know5%
   (n)(661)

[QUESTIONS 5 & 6 WERE ROTATED]

5.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Bob Menendez is doing as United States Senator?

All adultsMay
2021
Approve46%
Disapprove36%
(VOL) Don’t know19%
   (n)(706)
TREND:
Registered voters
May
2021
April
2020
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
July
2017
May
2016
July
2015
May
2015
Feb.
2015
Sept.
2014
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Dec.
2013
April
2013
Feb.
2013
 Approve46%44%37%40%37%41%41%38%42%49%45%47%51%49%47%44%41%
Disapprove38%38%45%45%38%35%31%38%38%27%30%34%31%30%27%38%31%
(VOL) Don’t know16%18%18%15%25%23%28%23%20%24%26%19%18%21%26%18%28%
   (n)(661)(635)(651)(549)(632)(758)(703)(453)(441)(712)(680)(717)(690)(690)(698)(694)(697)
TREND: Registered voters
continued
April
2012
Feb.
2012
Oct.
2011
Aug.
2011
May
2011
July
2010
Oct.
2008
April
2008
Jan.
2008
Approve40%41%43%38%46%38%34%41%37%
Disapprove25%26%29%33%28%33%25%31%25%
(VOL) Don’t know35%33%28%29%26%29%41%28%37%
   (n)(692)(709)(693)(730)(725)(747)(900)(720)(698)

6.Do you approve or disapprove of the job Cory Booker is doing as United States Senator?

All adultsMay
2021
Approve57%
Disapprove35%
(VOL) Don’t know8%
   (n)(706)
TREND: Registered votersMay 2021April 2020Sept. 2019Feb. 2019April
2018
July
2017
May
2016
July
2015
May
2015
Feb.
2015
Sept.
2014
June
2014
April
2014
Feb.
2014
Dec.
2013
Approve57%51%45%48%54%50%53%45%51%51%42%48%47%47%37%
Disapprove36%34%40%38%31%31%21%24%21%21%23%25%23%20%21%
(VOL) Don’t know6%14%16%14%15%20%27%31%27%27%35%27%30%32%43%
   (n)(661)(635)(651)(549)(632)(758)(703)(453)(441)(712)(680)(717)(690)(690)(698)

7.Do you think Phil Murphy is more concerned with governing the state of New Jersey or more concerned about his own political future? [CHOICES WERE ROTATED]

TREND:May
2021
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Governing the state of NJ49%33%33%40%
His own political future41%49%46%39%
(VOL) Both equally3%4%4%3%
(VOL) Don’t know7%15%16%18%
   (n)(706)(713)(604)(703)

8.Looking ahead to November’s election for Governor, do you think that Phil Murphy should be reelected, or do you think that it is time to have someone else in office?

All adultsMay
2021
Should be reelected48%
Time for someone else43%
(VOL) Don’t know9%
   (n)(706)
Registered votersMay
2021
Should be reelected48%
Time for someone else44%
(VOL) Don’t know8%
   (n)(661)

9.Thinking about Phil Murphy’s term as governor so far, would you say that he has major accomplishments, minor accomplishments, or no real accomplishments to point to?

TREND:May
2021
Sept.
2019
Major accomplishments34%12%
Minor accomplishments37%42%
No real accomplishments25%36%
(VOL) Don’t know3%10%
   (n)(706)(713)

10.I’d like to get your opinion on how Governor Murphy’s policies have affected different groups of New Jerseyans. Have his policies helped, hurt, or had no impact on[READ ITEM]? [ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

[Note: In April 2018, poll question asked “how Governor Murphy’s policies will affect different groups…”]

Middle class residents

TREND:May
2021
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Helped31%17%18%26%
Hurt36%31%39%41%
No impact25%36%27%17%
(VOL) Both helped and hurt2%2%1%2%
(VOL) Don’t know7%14%15%14%
   (n)(706)(713)(604)(703)

Poor residents

TREND:May
2021
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Helped43%25%27%38%
Hurt22%21%28%29%
No impact22%32%27%14%
(VOL) Both helped and hurt1%1%1%2%
(VOL) Don’t know13%21%18%17%
   (n)(706)(713)(604)(703)

Wealthy residents

TREND:May
2021
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Helped21%27%22%24%
Hurt21%14%21%29%
No impact38%31%30%30%
(VOL) Both helped and hurt1%1%1%1%
(VOL) Don’t know19%27%26%17%
   (n)(706)(713)(604)(703)

Property tax payers

TREND:May
2021
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Helped14%10%6%17%
Hurt46%39%48%51%
No impact26%33%29%14%
(VOL) Both helped and hurt1%1%1%1%
(VOL) Don’t know13%17%16%17%
   (n)(706)(713)(604)(703)

Transit riders

TREND:May
2021
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Helped24%16%14%28%
Hurt18%18%25%19%
No impact27%29%23%18%
(VOL) Both helped and hurt1%1%1%1%
(VOL) Don’t know30%35%37%34%
   (n)(706)(713)(604)(703)

Businesses

TREND:May
2021
Sept.
2019
Feb.
2019
April
2018
Helped33%23%20%30%
Hurt39%26%33%33%
No impact15%26%24%15%
(VOL) Both helped and hurt3%1%1%1%
(VOL) Don’t know10%24%21%21%
   (n)(706)(713)(604)(703)

[Q11-43 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from April 29 to May 4, 2021 with a random sample of 706 New Jersey adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 283 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 423 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and Dynata (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)
Self-Reported
22% Republican
40% Independent
38% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
29% 18-34
35% 35-54
36% 55+
 
57% White
13% Black
19% Hispanic
11% Asian/Other
 
63% No degree
37% 4 year degree
 
 

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with crosstabs