Democrat Phil Murphy has a 21-point lead on Republican Kim Guadagno in the race to be the next governor in New Jersey, as an overwhelming majority of residents say the state is on the wrong track, according to a new NBC 4 New York / Marist Poll.
Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive and U.S. ambassador to Germany, polls 54 percent versus 33 percent for Guadagno, the lieutenant governor for the last eight years.
It is at least the third poll this summer to find Murphy with a 20-plus point lead on Guadagno, who has been hurt by her association with the deeply unpopular incumbent, Chris Christie.
"Guadagno faces a dilemma in that she must find a way to recapture the Christie vote from 2013 while also being a candidate for change in 2017," said Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, in a statement. "As Christie’s lieutenant governor, this represents a tough challenge."
The poll found only 16 percent of New Jerseyans approve of the job Christie is doing as governor, and only 20 percent view him in a favorable light.
Christie is so unpopular that 71 percent of adults say the state is on the wrong track and 81 percent say the state needs a governor who will move in a different direction. (The percentage of those saying the state is on the wrong track more than doubled from the last election.)
The English-language phone poll of 895 adults was conducted July 13-18 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points.