Monmouth Poll: Murphy maintains double-digit lead; Ciattarelli still largely unknown

The latest Murphy-Ciattarelli poll numbers are out — and they continue the trend that has marked the entire gubernatorial race up to this point:

  • Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has solid support from Democrats (90% of those who identify as such);
  • Republican candidate Jack Ciattarelli has solid support from Republicans (91% of those who identify as such);
  • Murphy maintains his five-point lead among independents.

Because there are a lot more Democrats in the state than Republicans, Murphy is maintaining an overall double-digit lead, 51% to 38%, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll, released Wednesday.

The margin is slightly smaller than last month’s poll, when Murphy held a 52%-36% lead.

The only positive for Ciattarelli might be viewed as a negative: With less than two months to go until election day, approximately half of the electorate still has no opinion of the Republican candidate, who has been struggling to attract attention.

A range of potential electorate models show Murphy with a lead from 9 points to 14 points, depending on the scenario (compared with a range of 11-19 points last month).


The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute, Sept. 16-20, with a statewide random sample of 804 New Jersey voters drawn from a list of registered voters. This includes 225 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 579 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English.

Murphy’s lead is the narrowest among voters who have cast ballots in every general election since 2016 (50%-43%). This is smaller than his lead among these consistent voters last month (53%-38%), but this group represents only one-third of the potential electorate. Turnout will likely be higher than this — it was 39% in 2017 — and Murphy holds a double-digit lead among less-consistent voters, including a 51% to 40% lead specifically among those who voted in the 2017 gubernatorial contest.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said ads painting the opposite candidate one way or another appear to be having little impact.

“September shifts are not unheard of in New Jersey elections, and we see some potential for a single-digit race in these results. But we don’t really see movement in the underlying dynamics of this campaign, despite a stream of advertising from both sides,” Murray said.

How the candidates fared in specific regions:

  • North: Murphy, 55%-34%
  • Central: Murphy, 52%-36%
  • South: Murphy 46%-45%

How the candidates fared on specific issues:

  • Handling pandemic: Murphy, 50%-23%
  • Jobs and economy: Murphy, 39%-32%
  • Taxes: Ciattarelli, 39%-33%
  • Small business: Ciattarelli, 36%-34%
  • Crime: Murphy, 32%-30%

Compared with Monmouth’s August poll, Murphy has gained a few points on handling COVID-19, while Ciattarelli has gained a few points on jobs and taxes.