Do Jerseyans approve of Murphy? Poll says most (62%) still do

Republican lawmakers fail in attempt to take power away from governor

File photo Gov. Phil Murphy at a COVID-19 briefing.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s job approval rating is down, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll — but he’s still in near-record territory for approval.

According to the poll, 62% approve of the overall job Murphy is doing as governor, while 33% disapprove. Fifty-four percent now have a favorable impression of him (down from 59%), while 28% have an unfavorable impression (up from 20%).

Does this mean Murphy’s handling of COVID-19 is finally starting to bother residents? Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, said it’s a mixed bag of results.

“Despite this decrease, Murphy’s current favorability rating is still one of the all-time highest for a governor in New Jersey, next to Govs. Kean, Whitman, McGreevey and Christie, who have all passed the 50% mark,” she said. “But, it seems the governor’s ‘rally ’round the flag’ moment from last spring is dissipating as the pandemic continues on and as decisions regarding public health and the economy grow tougher.”

Results are from a statewide poll of 1,001 adults contacted by live callers on landlines and cell phones from Oct. 18-24. The full sample has a margin of error of +/-3.8 percentage points.

Republican lawmakers, of course, feel a different way.

Following Tuesday’s state Senate and Assembly voting sessions, Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano (all R-Brick) said the sessions represent another wasted opportunity to act on legislation that would limit Murphy’s executive powers.

The lawmakers are sponsors of S2482 and A4147, which would require the governor’s executive orders to expire in 15 days unless extended by the Legislature. The bills have not moved since their introduction in the Senate and Assembly, despite multiple attempts by Republican lawmakers to move the bills forward.

A motion by Republicans yesterday to force a vote on A4147 by the Assembly was immediately blocked by the majority Democrats.

Holzapfel, McGuckin and Catalano — in a group statement — said their constituents are fed up with what they call an overreach of power and endless executive orders.

“Why are Democrats so afraid of public hearings and transparency?” they asked. “If data truly drives the decisions being made, why can’t our residents and legislators see it for themselves? Why shouldn’t we require the governor to give all of us the reasoning for why his intrusive executive orders must remain in force?”

Simply put, they said they are tired of government by decree.

“One person should not be able to have such a far-reaching impact on our state for so long without the input of the entire Legislature,” they said. “We believe this legislation is necessary going forward to ensure that consequential emergency orders can be up for debate by the representatives who were elected by the people.”

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