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.