NJ Politics Digest: Latest Poll Numbers Aren’t Good News for Murphy

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy. Kevin B. Sanders for Observer

Gov. Phil Murphy has been in office for a little more than a year, and a new poll by Monmouth University Polling Institute finds that voter dissatisfaction with the governor has grown.

The poll found 43 percent of New Jersey adults approve of the job he is doing. That’s a 1 percent decline from polling in April. However, the number of adults who disapprove of Murphy’s performance has risen from 28 percent to 40.

That puts Murphy behind numbers notched by his two latest predecessors at this point in their first terms—former Gov. Chris Christie had a 47 percent to 40 percent approve to disapprove rating, while former Gov. Jon Corzine saw a 44 to 34 rating. Murphy’s numbers are better than those garnered by Jim McGreevey after his first year as governor. A poll then gave McGreevey a 34 percent approve to 45 percent disapprove rating. Christie went on to serve two terms, Corzine lost his bid for a second term and McGreevey resigned his post.

Murphy has maintained steady support among Democrats, but his approval has eroded among independents, with him now scoring at 39 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove rating.

The governor campaigned on a pledge to help the state’s struggling middle class, but only 18 percent say he has helped middle class residents while 39 percent say his policies have hurt them and 27 percent say his efforts have had no impact either way.

Murphy, whose first budget raised taxes by $1.4 billion, has maintained residents won’t mind paying more in taxes if they feel they are getting their money’s worth in state services. He has refused to rule out tax hikes in his next budget, which must be adopted by the end of June.

Murphy’s political opponents—including those in his own party—have faulted the governor for doing little to curb the state’s crushing tax rate and reminded him that the state’s middle class residents include more than just members of the public worker unions, who are his political allies.

Murphy also promised to build a “stronger, fairer” New Jersey, but only 27 percent say his policies have helped the poor, with a similar number each saying he has hurt the poor or had no impact.

New Jersey residents also don’t seem convinced Murphy is truly working on their behalf, with 46 percent saying Murphy is more concerned with his own political future than he is with governing the state.

Quote of the Day: “Property taxes continue to be the issue that irks the largest number of New Jerseyans. The solution may not be clear, but it’s certainly not a good idea to be perceived as ignoring the problem entirely,” — Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, on the most recent poll of state residents.

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NJ Politics Digest: Latest Poll Numbers Aren’t Good News for Murphy