Phil Murphy, the Democratic candidate for governor, has opened up a 15-point lead over his Republican rival, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, according to the findings of the new Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll. Murphy leads Guadagno 47 percent to 32 percent among likely voters. Both candidates get about a quarter of the support among independents: Murphy 26 percent, Guadagno 25 percent, undecided 26 percent.
Two-term Gov. Chris Christie seems to be affecting Guadagno’s chances in a negative way.
He is deeply unpopular among likely voters, with only 16 percent approving of his job performance. And 43 percent say he is a factor in the gubernatorial election, with a full third (34 percent) indicating he is a major factor. Fifty-six percent say Christie is not a factor in their choice to replace him.
Voters are also deeply cynical about the ability of the system to change things for the better. An overwhelming majority (69 percent) say the system is broken. Barely a fifth (22 percent) have faith in its ability to find leaders who can address the state’s problems.