September 30, 2021 | Number of The Day
Gov. Phil Murphy’s percentage-point lead over GOP’s Jack Ciattarelli, according to poll

As Election Day approaches, Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic is the main factor in his nine-point lead (50%-41%) over Republican Party candidate Jack Ciattarelli, according to a Stockton University Poll released Wednesday.

The poll found the pandemic was the top issue among voters (25%), with respondents saying by a wide margin (50%-34%) that Murphy would better manage the pandemic than Ciattarelli. They expressed even stronger support for policies aimed at controlling the coronavirus: 58% supported mask mandates in schools, versus 37% opposed; 56% supported a mandate that employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or be tested weekly for the virus, with 44% opposed; and 63% supported a vaccine requirement for health care workers while 34% opposed it.

After the pandemic, the next top issues for voters were taxes in general (12%), property taxes (10%) and the economy (6%), the poll found.

Murphy, a Democrat, received positive job ratings from 54%, with 41% disapproving. He was viewed favorably by 50% and unfavorably by 43%, with only 5% unfamiliar with the governor. Nearly half of respondents (45%) were not familiar with Ciattarelli or not sure how they feel about him (3%), including 33% of Republicans. Among those who recognized Ciattarelli, he was viewed favorably by 32% and unfavorably by 21%.

On an issue unrelated to the gubernatorial race, more voters (45%) opposed a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would allow gambling on college games held in the state or games in which New Jersey college teams participate, while 40% supported the proposal and 14% were unsure.

The poll, of 552 likely New Jersey voters, was conducted the week before the first gubernatorial debate Tuesday night. Full poll results are on the Stockton Polling Institute website.

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