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Poll: Public cautiously optimistic for Murphy

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Gov. Phil Murphy's approval rating is currently twice that of Chris Christie's, at the time he left office.
Gov. Phil Murphy's approval rating is currently twice that of Chris Christie's, at the time he left office. - ()

A new Fairleigh Dickinson University poll finds Gov. Phil Murphy beginning his administration with an approval rating of 35 percent.

That’s an improvement over public support in the final months of the outgoing governor, Chris Christie. But Murphy’s numbers are considerably lower than his past two predecessors during their first month in office.

Among adults in New Jersey, 35 percent said they approve of the job Murphy is doing in his first weeks, while 21 percent disapprove and 40 percent of respondents offered no opinion to the question. Fifty-five percent of Democratic respondents signaled their approval to just 9 percent of Republics, with 25 percent of independents in approval of Murphy’s early performance.

Christie left office with an approval rating of 17 percent.

“At this point, support, or lack thereof, for Murphy is more of a gut reaction,” Krista Jenkins, director of the FDU Poll and a professor of political science, said in a statement. “However, it’s notable that Murphy fares worse in the so-called ‘honeymoon period’ than Christie and Jon Corzine.”

In January 2010, when Chris Christie began his two terms in office, 48 percent approved and 31 percent disapproved, according to the FDU Poll. Corzine had the support of 47 percent in March 2006 with a 16 percent disapproval rating, according to the FDU Poll.

Survey respondents also were asked what comes to mind when they think of Phil Murphy. Many chose words reflecting a wait-and-see attitude. Some of the responses also suggest the new governor is closely identified with his pledge to legalize recreational marijuana.

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David Hutter

David Hutter

David Hutter grew up in Darien, Conn., and covers higher education, transportation and manufacturing for NJBIZ. He can be reached at dhutter@njbiz.com.

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