The Monmouth University Polling Institute is out with the latest results from Garden State residents examining the performance of Gov. Phil Murphy, as well as whether they believe he has sights set on a higher office.
The poll, released Jan. 11, was conducted in early January ahead of Murphy’s State of the State Address delivered this past Tuesday.
Among registered voters, Murphy had a 52% approval rating and 36% disapproval rating – for all New Jersey adults those figures were 53% and 35%, respectively – which is in line with his ratings over the past two years. Still, it reflects a slight dip from the 57% approval rating he received among registered voters in Monmouth’s last poll in April 2022.
Murphy receives positive ratings from 84% of Democrats, 46% of independents and just 16% of Republicans.
“Murphy seems to be holding course. His rating is above water in a state where Democrats have a registration advantage, but he doesn’t seem to have broken through yet with a major legacy item that New Jerseyans point to as a hallmark of his administration,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
In fact, just under 3 in 10 New Jerseyans (29%) believe Murphy has achieved a major accomplishment or legacy item, as Murray described it, during his time as governor, with 42% saying he has minor accomplishments.
On the issue of whether Murphy is focused on and will seek higher office, the breakdown was split with 45% saying he is more concerned with his own political future while 44% believe he is more concerned with governing.
Monmouth points out that the “more concerned with his own future” metric has ranged between 39% and 49% since Murphy took office. By comparison, Gov. Chris Christie’s rating on that metric reached nearly 8 in 10 by the time he left office.
About 4 in 10 residents believe Murphy is planning to run for president (7% say definitely, 33% say probably). Just 32% of respondents feel he would make a good president, including 54% of fellow Democrats, while 55% do not believe he is presidential material.
“I think part of the low expectations for Murphy on the national stage is that there isn’t an obvious job opening in the foreseeable future,” said Murray.
Elsewhere around New Jersey, Sen. Cory Booker, a Democrat, received a 52% approval rating and 33% disapproval among registered voters (54% approve and 31% disapprove among all New Jersey adults). Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat, had a bit more divided rating with 38% of voters approving and 38% disapproving (39% approve, 37% disapprove among all New Jersey adults); 24% had no opinion at all.
Nationally, New Jerseyans were split on the performance of President Joe Biden with a 46% approval and 48% disapproval among registered voters as well as all New Jersey residents.l