Monmouth poll: Gov. Murphy’s approval holds; little confidence in transit funding plan 

Gov. Phil Murphy’s job rating continues to be in positive territory, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll released Monday.

Positive meaning 50% of those polled approved and 42% disapproved of Murphy’s overall job performance among all New Jersey adults, with the same results among the state’s registered voters. These numbers are similar to Monmouth’s last New Jersey poll in August, but they remained slightly more negative than at the start of Murphy’s second term (55% approve and 35% disapprove in April 2022).

Murphy got somewhat better reviews for managing state finances than for his policy priorities. More than half (53%) of state residents said the governor has done a good job managing New Jersey’s finances over the past six years, while 43% said he has done a bad job.

Only 25%, however, said Murphy’s program priorities are in line with their own priorities for how the state spends its budget. Nearly half (45%) said Murphy’s priorities are too liberal for them and another 18% feel Murphy’s priorities are not liberal enough.

“The prevailing opinion is that Murphy does a decent job keeping an eye on the books, but there is disagreement on where he chooses to focus his efforts. This is more of a general sense about his priorities than a specific critique of any given policy, given that few New Jerseyans actually follow the budget process,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said.

The Monmouth poll also asked how Murphy’s policies have affected six different constituent groups in New Jersey. His worst ratings were for his impact on property taxpayers (24% helped and 48% hurt) and middle-class residents (27% helped and 47% hurt).

“There has been a slight improvement for Murphy on handling property taxes, but his grades on this issue, as well as views of his administration’s impact on the middle class in general remain generally negative,” Murray said.

The poll also asked about the impact of Murphy’s policies on transit riders. Overall, 19% of New Jerseyans said he has helped transit riders and 28% said he has hurt this group. These numbers have fluctuated throughout the governor’s time in office, ranging between 14% and 26% for helping transit riders and between 17% and 28% for hurting them.

In his state budget announcement, Murphy proposed a tax on businesses that have annual profits over $10 million to create a dedicated fund to improve the infrastructure and performance of New Jersey Transit. Four in 10 (40%) New Jerseyans approved of this tax proposal, 28% disapproved of it and 32% were unsure about it.

“Public transportation is an interesting policy issue because, while not everyone uses it, everyone is affected by it. There seems to be qualified support for Murphy’s corporate fee proposal but also sizable amount of doubt that it will work,” said Murray.