Monmouth Poll: Murphy Job Approval Rating at 57%

Phil Murphy

Gov. Phil Murphy earns a solid majority job approval rating in the latest Monmouth 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,

Booker
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.

Menendez
Menendez

 

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

Approve

57%

71%

41%

43%

44%

Disapprove

35%

21%

38%

40%

28%

(VOL) No opinion

8%

8%

21%

17%

28%

   (n)

(706)

(704)

(713)

(604)

(703)



TREND: Registered voters

May
2021

April
2020

Sept.
2019

Feb.
2019

April
2018

Approve

57%

72%

40%

42%

43%

Disapprove

36%

21%

41%

43%

30%

(VOL) No opinion

7%

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

Approve

47%

54%

33%

37%

36%

Disapprove

38%

27%

42%

42%

39%

(VOL) No opinion

14%

19%

25%

21%

24%

   (n)

(706)

(704)

(713)

(604)

(703)

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

Jan.
2014

Approve

47%

56%

32%

35%

34%

23%

29%

32%

33%

37%

35%

36%

38%

38%

47%

Disapprove

40%

28%

45%

45%

42%

62%

53%

51%

48%

46%

46%

48%

46%

47%

35%

(VOL) No opinion

12%

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.

2013

Sept.

2013

April

2013

Feb.

2013

Dec.

2012

Sept. 2012

July 2012

April

2012

Feb.

2012

Oct.

2011

Aug.

2011

May

2011

Feb.

2011

July

2010

April

2010

Feb.

2010

Approve

44%

38%

41%

40%

43%

32%

34%

37%

34%

33%

35%

32%

29%

25%

19%

24%

Disapprove

38%

36%

42%

35%

34%

43%

45%

41%

42%

45%

48%

48%

45%

49%

57%

49%

(VOL) Don’t know

19%

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

Approve

31%

23%

29%

27%

28%

25%

32%

34%

Disapprove

48%

55%

50%

47%

55%

53%

43%

42%

(VOL) Don’t know

22%

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 adults

May
2021

Approve

55%

Disapprove

39%

(VOL) Don’t know

6%

   (n)

(706)

Registered voters

May
2021

Approve

55%

Disapprove

40%

(VOL) Don’t know

5%

   (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 adults

May
2021

Approve

46%

Disapprove

36%

(VOL) Don’t know

19%

   (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

Approve

46%

44%

37%

40%

37%

41%

41%

38%

42%

49%

45%

47%

51%

49%

47%

44%

41%

Disapprove

38%

38%

45%

45%

38%

35%

31%

38%

38%

27%

30%

34%

31%

30%

27%

38%

31%

(VOL) Don’t know

16%

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

Approve

40%

41%

43%

38%

46%

38%

34%

41%

37%

Disapprove

25%

26%

29%

33%

28%

33%

25%

31%

25%

(VOL) Don’t know

35%

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 adults

May
2021

Approve

57%

Disapprove

35%

(VOL) Don’t know

8%

   (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

Approve

57%

51%

45%

48%

54%

50%

53%

45%

51%

51%

42%

48%

47%

47%

37%

Disapprove

36%

34%

40%

38%

31%

31%

21%

24%

21%

21%

23%

25%

23%

20%

21%

(VOL) Don’t know

6%

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 NJ

49%

33%

33%

40%

His own political future

41%

49%

46%

39%

(VOL) Both equally

3%

4%

4%

3%

(VOL) Don’t know

7%

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 adults

May
2021

Should be reelected

48%

Time for someone else

43%

(VOL) Don’t know

9%

   (n)

(706)

Registered voters

May
2021

Should be reelected

48%

Time for someone else

44%

(VOL) Don’t know

8%

   (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 accomplishments

34%

12%

Minor accomplishments

37%

42%

No real accomplishments

25%

36%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

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

Helped

31%

17%

18%

26%

Hurt

36%

31%

39%

41%

No impact

25%

36%

27%

17%

(VOL) Both helped and hurt

2%

2%

1%

2%

(VOL) Don’t know

7%

14%

15%

14%

   (n)

(706)

(713)

(604)

(703)

Poor residents

TREND:

May
2021

Sept.
2019

Feb.
2019

April
2018

Helped

43%

25%

27%

38%

Hurt

22%

21%

28%

29%

No impact

22%

32%

27%

14%

(VOL) Both helped and hurt

1%

1%

1%

2%

(VOL) Don’t know

13%

21%

18%

17%

   (n)

(706)

(713)

(604)

(703)

Wealthy residents

TREND:

May
2021

Sept.
2019

Feb.
2019

April
2018

Helped

21%

27%

22%

24%

Hurt

21%

14%

21%

29%

No impact

38%

31%

30%

30%

(VOL) Both helped and hurt

1%

1%

1%

1%

(VOL) Don’t know

19%

27%

26%

17%

   (n)

(706)

(713)

(604)

(703)

Property tax payers

TREND:

May
2021

Sept.
2019

Feb.
2019

April
2018

Helped

14%

10%

6%

17%

Hurt

46%

39%

48%

51%

No impact

26%

33%

29%

14%

(VOL) Both helped and hurt

1%

1%

1%

1%

(VOL) Don’t know

13%

17%

16%

17%

   (n)

(706)

(713)

(604)

(703)

Transit riders

TREND:

May
2021

Sept.
2019

Feb.
2019

April
2018

Helped

24%

16%

14%

28%

Hurt

18%

18%

25%

19%

No impact

27%

29%

23%

18%

(VOL) Both helped and hurt

1%

1%

1%

1%

(VOL) Don’t know

30%

35%

37%

34%

   (n)

(706)

(713)

(604)

(703)

 

Businesses

TREND:

May
2021

Sept.
2019

Feb.
2019

April
2018

Helped

33%

23%

20%

30%

Hurt

39%

26%

33%

33%

No impact

15%

26%

24%

15%

(VOL) Both helped and hurt

3%

1%

1%

1%

(VOL) Don’t know

10%

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

 

 

MARGIN OF ERROR

unweighted  sample

moe

(+/-)

TOTAL

 

706

3.7%

REGISTERED VOTER

Yes

661

3.8%

 

No

45

14.6%

SELF-REPORTED PARTY ID

Republican

124

8.8%

Independent

299

5.7%

Democrat

267

6.0%

REGION

North

365

5.1%

 

Central

176

7.4%

 

South

165

7.6%

GENDER

Male

366

5.1%

Female

340

5.3%

AGE

18-34

135

8.4%

35-54

271

6.0%

55+

294

5.7%

RACE

White non-Hispanic

444

4.7%

Other

236

6.4%

COLLEGE GRADUATE

No degree

276

5.9%

 

4 year degree

428

4.7%

INCOME

<$50K

127

8.7%

$50 to <$100K

232

6.4%

$100K+

298

5.7%

CHILDREN IN HOME

Yes

215

6.7%

 

No

487

4.5%

 

 

###

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  • Robert Knapp

    Governor Murphy’s ratings are one billion percent.

    Bob Knapp, Jersey City

    • Kathleen Demarest

      ……..YES………YES……..YES………YES,

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