General Business

Stockton Poll: Murphy Maintains Lead Over Ciattarelli in NJ Governor’s Race

Slim majority against college sports betting

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy leads Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli 50% to 41% when voters leaning toward a candidate are included, according to a Stockton University poll released today.

The race for N.J. Governor remains stable, with Murphy holding the same 9 percentage point lead found in a September Stockton poll. Three percent are undecided.

The poll of 522 likely voters was conducted for the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University and has a +/- 4.3% margin of error.

“When you consider that this poll was taken after the gubernatorial debates were done, it appears that voters’ feelings are fairly baked in at this point,” said John Froonjian, Hughes Center executive director. “The polling spread between the candidate is very consistent.”

Murphy was viewed favorably by 49%, while 44% had an unfavorable impression. Ciattarelli was unfamiliar to 19% of voters, an improvement in name recognition from a September Stockton poll which found that 45% were not familiar with him. Those who did know of him were split almost evenly, with 38% viewing him positively and 37% negatively.

More voters (45%) thought the state was going in the wrong direction than the right direction (42%), with 13% unsure. But 52% still approved of Murphy’s job performance leading the state as governor, while 44% disapproved.

Property taxes (15%) and taxes in general (12%) continue to be a top issue identified by voters, followed by COVID safety (11%) and the economy (8%).

Nearly identical levels of extreme partisan polarization were evident among Democrats and Republicans across every measure, but Democrats have the advantage of more than one million more registered voters. Murphy also led with independents in the poll, showing improvement with that bloc of voters since the earlier Stockton Poll.

Ciattarelli leads among white voters and men while Murphy is supported at higher rates by those with a four-year degree or more, Hispanic voters, women, and, overwhelmingly, by Black voters, said research associate Alyssa Maurice.

Other findings:

  • More than half (60%) of N.J. voters did not watch or listen to either Murphy-Ciattarelli governor debate, while 39% did.
  • Nearly all voters (95%) skipped the Lieutenant governor debate with only 3% tuning in.

“The fact that many did not view the gubernatorial candidate debates does not reflect negatively on the value of these debates,” Froonjian said. “Most partisans already know how they are going to vote, but debates have value in allowing undecided or uncertain voters to evaluate the candidates in action.”

Voters oppose college sports gambling in N.J.

The majority of voters (51%) opposed a constitutional amendment to allow gambling on college games held in N.J. or on games in which N.J. teams participate. This is up from 45% in a September Stockton poll. Thirty-seven percent support such an amendment while 11% are unsure.

Find full poll results here.

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