Monmouth poll: Murphy’s approval ratings are back up (55% approve; 35% disapprove)

Gov. Phil Murphy. (File photo)

The good news for Gov. Phil Murphy? His approval rating in the latest Monmouth University Poll, released Wednesday, had him at 55% — back up following a dip in the last poll, released shortly after the election.

The not-so-good news: The number of people who felt he has a major accomplishment to point to (30%) was only slightly higher than those who said he has no accomplishments (25%). Those are tough numbers in a heavily Democratic-leaning state.

The surprising news: Despite his approval ratings, far more residents felt he would not make a good president (56%) than those who said he would (33%). As far as if he is going to run, only 5% said he “definitely” is, while 32% said “probably” and 43% said “probably not.”

Keep in mind, all of these results come in a state where Democrats (39%) far outnumber Republicans (23%), with 36% saying they are independent.

Like all such political polls, there are plenty of results that speak for (and against) the politician.

Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said Murphy scored well in the most important question: approval rating.

“Murphy got a bit of a scare from voters who took part in last year’s election, but he appears to have recovered a bit as far as all his constituents are concerned,” he said.

Murphy holds a 55% approval and 35% disapproval rating from all New Jersey adults for the overall job he is doing as governor. His current approval rating of 57% among registered voters was up from 52% shortly before the November election last year and marks a return to the level of his job rating last spring (57% in May 2021).

The governor’s approval topped 70% a year before that, just as the COVID-19 pandemic started to spread.

Murphy got positive ratings from 86% of Democrats, 51% of independents and 17% of Republicans, which is similar to the partisan divide in public opinion one year ago.

Does Murphy help N.J.’s image?

One-third of New Jerseyans (33%) said Gov. Phil Murphy helps the state’s image around the country, while one-quarter (24%) said he hurts it and 40% said he makes no difference — according to the latest survey by Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Murphy also got favorable ratings for putting the state over his own personal ambitions — at least in comparison to his predecessor, Gov. Chris Christie.

Residents were split on the question (45% said he is more concerned with governing; 45% said he is more concerned about his own political future). Only 35% felt Christie, at the same point in his second term, was more concerned with governing, as opposed to 54% who said he was more concerned with his political future.

Murray offered this take on the comparison.

“The public does not see Murphy as being as ambitious as Christie was,” he said. “Some political observers say that isn’t true, but he doesn’t wear those ambitions on his sleeve like his predecessor did. Of course, Christie was much more of a media magnet, which heightened speculation about him.”

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 31-April 4, with 802 New Jersey adults. The question results have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch.