Gov. Phil Murphy’s grades are in.
On March 8, the governor delivered an in-person budget address at the statehouse, outlining a $48.9 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year. That same afternoon, the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll revealed that about half of New Jerseyans (49%) approve of the overall job he’s doing as he begins his second term.
The poll found that 46% disapprove of his job performance and 5% are unsure. Murphy’s job approval rating has essentially held steady from November 2021, according to the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, home of this survey.
However, Murphy’s favorability has taken a hit. When asked, “Is your general impression of Phil Murphy favorable or unfavorable, or do you not have an opinion about him?” 33% said they have a favorable impression of the governor (down from 50% in November 2021), while 38% have an unfavorable one.
“This marks the first time since Governor Murphy took office that more New Jerseyans are unfavorable toward him than favorable,” Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the ECPIP at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, said in a statement. “His current job approval and favorability numbers are reminiscent of the start of his first term, marking a clear end to his pandemic-induced ratings bump as both the state and politics attempt to return to some sort of normal.”
The results show “Murphy remains a C student, on average.” Overall, 11% of New Jerseyans give him an A, 28% a B, 24% a C, 15% a D and 19% an F.
The governor gets his next highest grade on education and schools — 20%, A; 30%, B, — earning him a C+, on average.
Murphy’s average grade in all but one of the following areas is a C, the poll found; New Jerseyans give him a C- for mental health and addiction:
- Health care
- Economy and jobs
- Crime and safety
- Mental health and addiction
- Transportation and infrastructure
Murphy gets lower grades on the state budget: 1 in 5 New Jerseyans failed him on the matter. He earned his lowest score on his handling of taxes and cost of living and affordability. When it comes to taxes, New Jerseyans, on average, give him a D+. Respondents gave him a D, on average, when it comes to cost of living and affordability.
Results are from a statewide poll of 1,044 adults contacted by phone from Feb. 25-March 4. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.