New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy holds a 16-point lead over businessman Jack Ciattarelli in this fall's gubernatorial race, with voters closely focused on the recovery from the pandemic and their tax burdens, a new Monmouth University Poll finds.
The Democrat Murphy has the support of 52% of registered voters to 36% for the Republican Ciattarelli, according to the poll released Wednesday. Murphy holds a commanding lead in the northern and central parts of the state, while Ciattarelli leads by five points in southern Jersey.
Murphy also holds a whopping 80-point lead among Black voters and 50-point advantage among Hispanic and Asian voters. Ciattarelli leads by nine points among white voters, driven by a huge lead among those without a college degree.
Asked to rank the most important issues facing the state, COVID and property taxes dominate. Voters given Murphy a wide edge on the pandemic and a narrower one on the economy, but slightly prefer Ciattarelli on tax issues.
The telephone poll of 810 registered voters was conducted Aug. 11 to 16 and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.
Ciattarelli, a former member of the state Assembly, is making his second bid for governor. One of his biggest challenges in the election may prove to be awareness; 61% of those polled by Monmouth said they had no opinion of him one way or another, including 44% of Republicans.
Murphy, on he other hand, is trying to become the first Democrat to be re-elected to the job since 1977.