NJ Race Starts to Tighten Republican gubernatorial candidate for New Jersey Jack Ciattarelli greets supporters at a campaign stop in New Milford, N.J., Sept. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig
By Theodore Bunker | Wednesday, 22 September 2021 06:18 PM
Gov. Phil Murphy’s lead over his Republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, shrank slightly in the most recent survey of the state from the Monmouth University Poll released on Wednesday.
While a little more than half of registered voters, 51%, told Monmouth that they currently support Murphy, compared to 38% who back Ciattarelli, that number is down by one percent from last month, and the Republican’s increased from 36% last month.
Monmouth notes that this change is mostly due to Republicans moving more firmly behind Ciattarelli, who now has 91% support among the GOP compared to 85% last month. Murphy’s support from Democrats also increased, but not by as much at 90% from 87%, and both candidates hold about the same level of support from independents as they did last month, with Murphy’s remaining the same at 44% and Ciattarelli’s rising from 38% to 39%.
“September shifts are not unheard of in New Jersey elections and we see some potential for a single-digit race in these results. But we don’t really see movement in the underlying dynamics of this campaign, despite a stream of advertising from both sides,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement released with the results of the survey.
When it comes to key issues, Murphy holds a noticeable lead when it comes to the pandemic, but only a slightly better rating when it comes to jobs and the economy, and Ciattarelli edges out the governor on taxes.
“There have been some small shifts on issue advantages but nothing that has upset the underlying dynamic. Murphy retains a large edge on dealing with the pandemic. Ciattarelli’s ads have hit Murphy on taxes, small businesses, and even on the incumbent’s treatment of women, but the needle has not moved that much,” Murray noted.
He added that the candidate’s favorability ratings show that most Garden State voters are unaware of Ciattarelli’s positions, with 16% saying his views are in line with most New Jersey residents and 17% saying they are out of line with most voters in the state.
“This is typical New Jersey voter inattentiveness. Ciattarelli has not been able to introduce himself yet, but these results also mean the Murphy campaign’s attempts to paint their opponent as an extremist have not penetrated either,” Murray said.
Monmouth polled 804 New Jersey voters from September 16-20, 2021 with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.