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Murphy garners 58% approval in new poll, Biden approval at 53%

A poll released March 31 from Stockton University showed Gov. Phil Murphy’s approval rating at 58% in a new poll ahead of his November reelection and amid a prolonged COVID-19 lockdown, and President Joe Biden’s approval at 54% among New Jersey voters.

Murphy saw high approval ratings in his job handling of the existing pandemic. One of the last ones showed a 72% approval rating in a poll Fairleigh Dickinson University released in October.

Other major polling institutes showed surging approval of how Murphy was handling the state’s response.

Still, that was the highest approval rating the university got from respondents ever since Murphy took office in early 2018, according to Alyssa Maurice, a research associate at Stockton’s William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy, which ran the poll.

And John Froonjian, the Hughes Center’s executive director, said that any comparison needs to bear in mind that different polling institutes have different ways of wording their questions, which could in turn affect the results.

Forty-nine percent of New Jersey voters said the state was headed in the right direction, compared to 40% of voters who felt it was headed in the wrong direction.

Biden approval was stringently partisan, the poll found, with a majority of Democrats in favor of Biden’s priorities, and a majority of Republicans opposed to them.

“Forget about being on the same page. They’re not even in the same book,” Froonjian, continued.

For example, Biden garnered a 91% job approval by Democrats compared to 12% of Republicans. The president’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill saw a 93% approval from Democrats, compared to just 25% of Republicans.

The poll found that 99% of Democrats were confident of Biden’s ability to get the pandemic under control, compared to 47% of Republicans. Ninety-four of Democrats said they were confident the current president could improve the nation’s post-COVID economy, compared to 17% of Republicans.

And 97% of Democrats felt that the 2020 presidential election was “fair and free” compared to 20% of Republican voters in the state.

Through the fall and winter in 2020 and this January, then-President Donald Trump repeated unsubstantiated claims that the election was rife with voter fraud and that he was actually the rightful victor.

“The polarization we saw on presidential candidates in the 2020 election extends not only into the new presidency but to the major issues of the day,” Froonjian said.

Stockton interviewed 647 New Jersey voters between March 11 and 22, and the poll had a margin of error or plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

Daniel J. Munoz
Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.