Poll Claims Murphy Approval Ratings are Soaring During COVID-19 Pandemic, Trump’s Sinking in NJ

Governor Phil Murphy official headshot in Trenton, N.J. on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017. (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

West Long Branch, NJ –A poll conducted by Monmouth University shows Governor Phil Murphy’s approval ratings soaring high and President Donald J. Trump’s edging lower during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Public officeholder ratings have gone up across the board in the Garden State, but none more so than for the governor, Phil Murphy, who earns widespread praise for his handling of the coronavirus outbreak,” the report said.  “New Jersey residents have a higher opinion of the state response than they do for the actions of the federal government in general and the president specifically. The vast majority of New Jerseyans approve of the state’s social distancing regulations, including large numbers who support controversial measures such as the closure of state parks. Among more than a dozen different actions and issues covered by the poll, the only area where New Jersey falls short is the rate of COVID-19 testing. However, only 3 in 10 say this gap is due to the state government not doing enough to make more tests available.”

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Murphy earns a 71% approve and 21% disapprove rating for the overall job he is doing as governor, with 8% having no opinion. Public approval has jumped since September when he earned a split decision from his constituents – 41% approved and 38% disapproved, while 21% had no opinion of their governor. The governor’s job approval number has increased by 21 points among Democrats (from 71% in September to 92% now), by 41 points among independents (from 28% to 69%), and by 29 points among Republicans (from 16% to 45%).

“Not only are Murphy’s approval numbers up, but more New Jerseyans are taking notice than during the first two years of his term. Leadership becomes much more relevant in a crisis and Murphy is getting solid reviews for his response,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

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Even President Donald Trump’s job rating has ticked up a bit in New Jersey, although, in contrast to public opinion of state officials, it remains underwater. The president currently earns a 41% approve and 56% disapprove rating from Garden State residents. This is only slightly different from the 37% approve and 55% disapprove rating he got in September.

There is a large gap in how New Jerseyans view the responses of their governor and president to the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly 8 in 10 (79%) say Murphy has done a good job dealing with COVID-19 while just 10% say he’s done a bad job. Positive reviews of Murphy’s COVID-19 response are a little higher than the average for all 50 U.S. governors (72%), according to a national Monmouth University Poll conducted earlier this month. Only 4 in 10 (41%) New Jerseyans say Trump has done a good job dealing with the outbreak while 52% say he has done a bad job. This state rating is somewhat more negative than national opinion of Trump’s coronavirus response (46% good job and 49% bad job).

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More than 6 in 10 (64%) say that measures taken by New Jersey’s state government to slow the spread of the virus have been appropriate. Just 11% say they have gone too far while 23% say they have not gone far enough. In contrast, just 42% of state residents say measures taken by the federal government have been appropriate while more (51%) say they have not gone far enough. Another 5% say the federal measures have gone too far.