Poll: NJ’s impending reopenings see strong support from residents

Daniel J. Munoz//May 6, 2021

Poll: NJ’s impending reopenings see strong support from residents

Daniel J. Munoz//May 6, 2021

A new poll released May 6 by the Monmouth University Polling Institute shows 73% of New Jerseyans support Gov. Phil Murphy’s recent reopening measures for outdoor businesses and gatherings, and 60% for indoor businesses.

That’s despite a backslide in his overall popularity and support for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Thursday report and another released earlier this week.

The largest reopenings go into effect starting May 7 through May 19 and affect every single business in the state. Capacity restrictions will be loosened for indoor and outdoor gatherings, and at indoor restaurants, retail, gyms, salons, and other indoor establishments. Murphy has called them the “most aggressive steps taken to reopen to date,” and has alluded to more reopenings if the COVID-19 pandemic is further controlled and if vaccination efforts continue to increase.

The poll found that 58% of respondents felt the state had taken appropriate measures to halt the spread of COVID-19, compared to an April poll at the height of the pandemic and immediate aftermath of the virtual statewide lockdown that returned a 79% approval rating of Murphy’s handling of the pandemic.

 “Most New Jerseyans are ready to see the state reopen. The problem is, we still have a number of residents who are hesitant or downright opposed to getting the vaccine,” said Pat Murray, the institute’s director.
Patrick Murray, director, Monmouth University Polling Institute

The poll found that 61% of respondents felt that the pandemic had a major impact on their daily lives, compared to 71% at the start of the pandemic. And 53% of residents felt the state was doing better than other states in its COVID-19 pandemic response, compared to 23% who each said the state was doing worse, or about the same as other states.

“If we get back to normal, it’s possible that other issues become very important standard economic issues – property taxes, cost of living, those are the things that matter most,” Murray said in a December interview.

He suggested that a transition from COVID-19 lockdowns to a realm of pre-pandemic normalcy could translate to less impressive poll numbers than what Murphy saw during the pandemic.

A Stockton University poll from March gave Murphy a 58% approval rating, while a May 4  Monmouth poll showed the governor had a 57% approval rating.

Monmouth interviewed 706 adults between April 30 and May 4 for the newest poll, and the margin of error was plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.