Republicans aren’t coming out on top in this year’s New Jersey gubernatorial race, according to a new Quinnipiac Poll released Wednesday.
The poll found that Democrat Phil Murphy is leading Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno for New Jersey's next governor, 58 percent to 33 percent, among likely voters. And the voters, according to the poll, span every party, gender, education, age and racial group listed — except Republicans.
Republicans support Guadagno by a margin of 78 percent to 16 percent. Although in the lead, Murphy, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany and Goldman Sachs executive, barely edged out Guadagno among white men, 46 percent to 45 percent, respectively.
Guadagno’s campaign is hurt by her connection to Gov. Chris Christie, with 47 percent of likely voters saying her services under the governor negatively impacts their opinion of her. Eleven percent say it’s a positive, and 40 percent say it doesn’t matter.
Murphy’s campaign is hurt by his connection to Goldman Sachs, with 40 percent of likely voters saying his 23 years at the firm is a negative. For 6 percent, however, it has a positive impact, and 60 percent say it’s of no concern.
“Working for Goldman Sachs hurts Murphy a little. Serving as lieutenant governor to Gov. Chris Christie hurts Guadagno a lot more,” said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Taxes are the most important issue, according to 30 percent of likely voters choosing it as their top concern. Another 15 percent listed the economy as the most important issue; 13 percent said education; and 11 percent said health care.
“Predictably, taxes are the number one voter concern,” Carroll said.
In terms of favorability, Murphy came in at a 37 to 18 percent favorability rating, with 43 percent unsure. Guadagno, meanwhile, was viewed unfavorably, 25 to 33 percent, with 40 percent unsure.
“As far as candidate qualifications go, New Jersey is holding a stealth election. Democrat Phil Murphy swamps Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, but about 40 percent of voters don’t know much about either of them,” Carroll said.
The poll was conducted from September 7-12 and surveyed 875 New Jersey likely voters that had a margin of error or +/- 4.5 percentage points.