Gov. Phil Murphy’s lead over Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli has narrowed to six points, according to a poll released Oct. 21.
The Emerson College/Pix 11 survey shows 50% of New Jersey voters favoring Murphy, while 44% prefer Ciattarelli.
Although early and mail-in voting are already underway, most voters will head to the polls on Nov. 2, just under two weeks from now, when Murphy and all 120 seats in the Democratic-controlled state Legislature are up for grabs.
Thursday’s poll is the second such report showing Murphy with a single-digit lead over Ciattarelli, in a state with roughly 1 million more registered Democrats than Republicans. Stockton University on Sept. 29 released a poll showing Murphy with a 9 point lead.
But John Froonjian, who heads the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy, said in an email that “Murphy holds a comfortable lead over Ciattarelli.”
An August poll showed the governor with a 16-point lead over Ciattarelli, which then shrunk to 13 points in a later report.
Ciattarelli still struggles with name recognition in many polls. In the latest survey, 16% of respondents had no opinion of the former Somerset county assemblyman while just 4% said they never heard of him.
Fifty-six percent of voters support Murphy’s vaccine mandates for health care and education workers, while 52% said he would do a better job handling the pandemic; 48% selected Ciattarelli.
The poll showed 51% of respondents said taxes should be the governor’s first priority. Ciattarelli has attacked Murphy on taxes for most of the campaign. Both have been criticized for not offering a solid plan on how they would lower taxes on residents and businesses.
Thursday’s poll of 600 likely New Jersey voters was conducted between Oct. 15 and 18 by automated calls for landlines, SMS for cell phones and a panel for online responses. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.