Murphy has 20-point lead on Guadagno, Quinnipiac poll finds

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy now holds a 20-point lead over Republican rival Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno among likely voters, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday.

Guadagno narrowed the gap from the previous poll, released Sept. 13, however. She now trails Murphy by 57 percent to 37 percent, an improvement from the 58 percent to 33 percent showing she posted earlier in the year.

Murphy dominates Guadagno in a key demographic, women voters, the poll found — by a 65-29 margin. His lead is much narrower among male voters, a mere 49-45. Murphy also leads among independent voters, by a 52-39 margin, while both candidates dominate with their own party’s voters.

“Lt. Gov. Guadagno could not be in a worse situation,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the poll, said in a prepared statement. “Phil Murphy leads her among most voter groups.”

With the election 13 days away, Quinnipiac noted, 83 percent of likely voters who name a preferred candidate said their mind is made up, while only 14 percent said they could still be swayed to a different choice.

Murphy has a narrow 44-34 favorability rating, while Guadagno suffers from a 33-41 unfavorability score, the university added.

“Politics is a team game,” Brown said. “Guadagno’s GOP teammates — President Donald Trump, with a 33 percent job approval rating, and Gov. Christopher Christie, with his 15 percent approval rating — are clearly pulling her down.”

The poll also found that Guadagno’s role as Christie’s lieutenant governor was viewed in a more negative light than Murphy’s time as an executive at Goldman Sachs.

“The way Republicans occasionally win in blue states such as New Jersey is by attracting some soft Democrats and dominating among independent voters,” Brown said. “But only 4 percent of Democrats say they will vote for Guadagno, compared to 8 percent of Republicans backing Murphy. And his double-digit lead among independent voters makes it difficult to find a realistic path to a Guadagno victory.”