Phil Murphy’s ratings are sinking; Republicans can rejoice.
We are being facetious. The governor’s approval rating in a FDU poll released Thursday stood at 67 percent. Only 26 percent disapproved. This was a tad lower than many polls conducted in April that put his approval rating around 70 percent.
From a pure political point of view, this latest sampling has to have Republicans pretty frustrated. The point here is not to be mocking, but to consider the current political landscape.
Much has happened between the first round of polling and this week’s FDU poll.
There have been anti-lock down protests and press conferences calling on the governor to “reopen” the state more quickly.
We have seen fiery anti-Murphy rhetoric from some Republican lawmakers and open defiance of state pandemic regulations. Think of the gym owner in Bellmawr who just opened his business for a few days before officials shut it down.
And don’t forget about the suit challenging the pandemic regulations filed by the state Republican Committee.
Murphy also has made some missteps, most notably when he attended protests after the death of George Floyd that violated his own rules on large gatherings and social distancing. A few days afterwards, he exempted all political gatherings from the mandates. It’s not as if he had a choice.
Yet, the governor’s approval rating is still high.
This is explainable by any objective measure.
In short, the majority of state residents see public health and safety as more important than fully reopening the economy.
After all, for most. staying safe and healthy trumps a spa treatment. It’s awfully hard to challenge that assertion. I use that reference because of a reopen New Jersey press conference that took place a few weeks ago outside a spa in Parsippany.
Any fair-minded person knows that the lock down is hurting many business owners, but it’s almost impossible to avoid the need to put public health first.
New Jersey doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Compared to what we see elsewhere, New Jersey is handling COVID-19 better than most other states. Sure, that can change, but at the moment, the two key metrics – rates of positivity and transmission are low.
So, it’s not at all surprising that the governor’s approval rating remains high.
That’s not to suggest criticism will evaporate.
You can expect those in opposition to keep calling Murphy a “king” and to continue lambasting him in public and on social media.
The dissenters may be very vocal, but let’s not forget, they’re also in the minority.