FDU Poll: New Jerseyans don’t want governors running for President

Murphy and Christie

New Jerseyans don’t want governors running for President

Few Democrats think Murphy should run; fewer Republicans think Christie should

Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ, November 9, 2022 – With voting complete in the 2022 US midterm elections, positioning for the 2024 US Presidential election has begun. Both the current governor of New Jersey, Democrat Phil Murphy, and the most recent former governor, Republican Chris Christie, are largely expected to try their chances for their party’s nominations, but neither have the support of their home state in such efforts.

According to the latest results from FDU Poll, just 30 percent of Democrats in the state say that they think Murphy should run for President in 2024. Fifty percent say that he shouldn’t run, and 20 percent say that they aren’t sure. But those low numbers are still higher than support for Christie: only 12 percent of New Jersey Republicans say that he should run, with 80 percent saying that they don’t think he should (Democrats were not asked if Christie should run, nor were Republicans asked if Murphy should).

“Democrats are relatively happy with the job Murphy is doing as governor,” said Dan Cassino, professor of Government and Politics at FDU, and the Executive Director of FDU Poll. “But there’s just no appetite to see either of these guys run at the national level”

According to the poll, Murphy is underwater with New Jersey residents: just 40 percent approve of the job Murphy is doing as governor, with 42 percent disapproving. His approval is higher – 67 percent – among Democrats, but even that figure is below historical norms for an incumbent governor among his partisans. More independents disapprove of him (46 percent) than approve (42 percent), and only 7 percent of Republicans say that he’s doing a good job. But even among Democrats who approve of the job that Murphy is doing as governor, only 35 percent say that he should run for President.

“Murphy is counting on the idea that gubernatorial experience translates into Presidential prospects, said Cassino. “But even Democrats who think he’s done a good job in the state house don’t want him running for President.”

Whatever his problems may be, Christie’s tempestuous relationship with former President Trump doesn’t seem to explain why he’s having trouble appealing to New Jersey Republicans. While President Biden won handily against Trump in the 2020 Presidential election in New Jersey, 78 percent of New Jersey Republicans say that they voted for Trump. Among those Republicans, only 11 percent say that Christie should run for President. But the former governor’s numbers aren’t any better among the smaller group of Republicans who didn’t vote for Trump: only 13 percent of them say that he should run.

“Going back and forth between cozying up to Trump and attacking him means that Christie has managed to alienate just about everyone in the Republican Party,” said Cassino. “If he wants any kind of constituency in 2024, he’s going to have to hope for a widespread outbreak of political amnesia.”

Especially since the Dobbs decision overturned past abortion rights cases at the federal level, Governor Murphy has made his support for abortion rights a centerpiece of his governorship, and his role as a national leader among Democratic governors. However, this has not translated into a groundswell of Presidential support from pro-choice New Jerseyans. While New Jersey residents who say that abortion should be legal under any circumstance are more likely to approve of Murphy (57 percent) than those who think abortion should be legal only under some circumstances (24 percent), pro-choice voters are not more likely to say that he should run for President. Only 22 percent of pro-choice Democrats say that Murphy should run, lower than his support among the smaller group of Democrats saying that abortion should only be legal under some circumstances (54 percent).

“Abortion is an issue that hits hardest among more liberal Democrats,” said Cassino. “And right now, those Democrats don’t want to see Murphy or anyone else running against Biden.”

Methodology

The survey was conducted between October 24 and November 1, 2022, using a certified list of adult New Jersey residents carried out by Ironwood Insights. Respondents were randomly chosen from the list and contacted via either live-caller telephone interviews or text-to-web surveys sent to cellular phones, resulting in an overall sample of 801 respondents. 174 of the surveys were carried out via live-caller telephone interviews on both cell phones (70%) and landlines (30%), and the remainder (627) were done on a web platform via web links sent via SMS to cell phones. Surveys were conducted only in English.

The data were weighted to be representative of the population of adult NJ residents, as of the 2020 US Census. The weights used, like all weights, balance the demographic characteristics of the sample to match known population parameters. The weighted results used here are balanced to match parameters for sex, age, education and race/ethnicity.

SPSSINC RAKE, an SPSS extension module that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables using the GENLOG procedure, was used to produce final weights. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. The use of these weights in statistical analysis helps to ensure that the demographic characteristics of the sample approximate the demographic characteristics of the target population. The size of these weights is used to construct the measure of design effects, which indicate the extent to which the reported results are being driven by the weights applied to the data, rather than found in the data itself. Simply put, these design effects tell us how many additional respondents would have been needed to get the weighted number of respondents across weighted categories: larger design effects indicate greater levels of under-representation in the data. In this case, calculated design effects are approximately 1.4.

All surveys are subject to sampling error, which is the expected probable difference between interviewing everyone in a population versus a scientific sampling drawn from that population. Sampling error should be adjusted to recognize the effect of weighting the data to better match the population. In this poll, the simple sampling error for 801 registered voters is +/-3.5 percentage points, at a 95 percent confidence interval. Including the design effects, the margin of error would be +/-4.9 percentage points, though the figure not including them is much more commonly reported.

This error calculation does not take into account other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question-wording, differences in translated forms, or context effects. While such errors are known to exist, they are often unquantifiable within a particular survey, and all efforts, such as randomization and extensive pre-testing of items, have been used to minimize them.

Weighted Telephone Sample Characteristics

801 New Jersey Residents

Figures are weighted to overall voter characteristics from the 2020 US Census. Respondents who refused to answer a demographic item are not included.

 

Man

42%                 N = 341

Woman

55%                 N = 436

Some Other Way

3%                  N = 22

 

18-30

21%                N = 162

31-44

25%                 N = 207

45-64

32%                 N = 261

65+

19%                 N = 154

 

Democrat (with leaners)

50%                 N = 354

Independent

17%                 N = 118

Republican (with leaners)

33%                 N = 240

 

White

53%                N = 400

Black

14%                N = 104

Hispanic/Latino/a

24%                N = 178

Asian

7%                  N = 55

Other/Multi-racial

2%                  N = 16

 

No college degree

55%                N = 447

College degree or more

45%                N = 350

 

Question Wording and Order

NJ1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Phil Murphy is handling his job as governor?

  1. Approve
  2. Disapprove
  3. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

NJ2-4 Held for Future Release

NJ5. The local media has an important role in informing the public, covering important issues, and holding officials accountable. On the whole, do you think the local media in New Jersey is doing a good job in these roles, a fair job, or a poor job?

  1. Good
  2. Fair
  3. Poor
  4. [Don’t Know/Refused]

E1. [Half of Respondents get this question here; half get it after E3] Do you think abortion should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?

  1. Legal under any circumstances
  2. Legal only under certain circumstances
  3. Illegal in all circumstances
  4. [Don’t Know/Refused]

E2. Later this year, there will be an election for members of Congress, and for some other offices. How likely do you think it is that you’ll vote in that election? Would you say that you are…

  1. Certain or Almost Certain to vote
  2. Very Likely to vote
  3. Somewhat Likely to vote
  4. Not Very Likely to vote
  5. Almost certainly will not vote
  6. Already Voted [Note: not volunteered in the TTW]
  7. [Don’t Know/Refused]

E3. [Ask only if E2 is not 5] In the race for the House of Representatives in your district, do you think you’ll vote for the Republican candidate, or the Democratic candidate [switch order]?

  1. Republican
  2. Democrat
  3. Someone Else [vol]
  4. [Don’t Know/Refused]

D1. In politics today, do you consider yourself a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or something else?

  1. Democrat
  2. Republican
  3. Independent  [ASK D1A]
  4. Something Else/Other
  5. DK/Ref

D1A. [Ask only if D1 is 3] Which way do you lean?

  1. Democrat
  2. Republican
  3. Independent
  4. Something Else/Other
  5. DK/Ref

D1B. [Ask only if D1=1 or D1A=1] In your opinion, should New Jersey governor Phil Murphy run for President in 2024?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Don’t Know/Refused

D1C. [Ask only if D1=2 or D1A=2] In your opinion, should former New Jersey governor Chris Christie run for President in 2024?

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Don’t Know/Refused

Further Questions Held for Later Release

Release Tables

In your opinion, should New Jersey governor Phil Murphy/former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie run for President in 2024?
  Murphy Christie
Yes 30% 12%
No 50% 80%
[Vol] Don’t Know/Refused 20% 8%

 

In your opinion, should New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy run for President in 2024?
  All Dems Approve Disapprove Not Sure/DK
Yes 30% 35% 5% 24%
No 50% 46% 85% 54%
[Vol] Don’t Know/Refused 20% 19% 10% 22%

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Phil Murphy is handling his job as governor?
  All Dem Indp Rep
Approve 40% 67% 42% 7%
Disapprove 42% 5% 46% 88%
[Vol] Don’t Know/Not Sure/Refused 18% 28% 12% 5%

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Phil Murphy is handling his job as governor?
    Abortion View  
  All Always Legal Sometimes Legal Never Legal
Approve 40% 57% 24% 22%
Disapprove 42% 20% 63% 67%
[Vol] Don’t Know/Not Sure/Refused 18% 23% 13% 11%

 

In your opinion, should New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy run for President in 2024?
    Abortion View  
  All Dems Always Legal Sometimes Legal Never Legal
Yes 30% 22% 54% 30%
No 50% 57% 30% 40%
[Vol] Don’t Know/Refused 20% 22% 16% 30%

 

In your opinion, should former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie run for President in 2024?
  All Reps Trump 2020 Other 2020
Yes 12% 11% 13%
No 80% 80% 83%
[Vol] Don’t Know/Refused 8% 9% 4%
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