New Jersey

Murphy Lead Shrinking as NJ Governor Race Enters Final Days

A new poll shows the incumbent Democrat leading Republican Jack Ciattarelli by just 6 points; in May his lead was 26 points

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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy's lead over Jack Ciattarelli is shrinking as the race for governor enters the final days -- and with undecideds leaning hard toward the Republican, Murphy's lead may be even narrower, according to a new poll.

Murphy leads businessman and former state Assembly member Ciattarelli 50%-44%, the Emerson College/PIX11 Poll found.

Two months ago, a different poll had Murphy with a more substantial 16-point lead, and five months ago it was as large as 26 points. But virtually every poll from every pollster since then has shown the race gradually tightening.

The Emerson poll had another ominous sign for Murphy -- just 7% of voters are undecided, but among that group, a heavy majority are leaning toward Ciattarelli.

If their votes were assigned accordingly, Murphy's lead would shrink to just 4 points -- barely outside the poll's margin of error.

Early voting begins Saturday in New Jersey. Murphy is trying to become the first Democrat to be re-elected governor in 44 years, with a campaign based heavily on his work fighting the COVID pandemic. Ciattarelli, on the other hand, is laser-focused on taxes, far and away the top issue for New Jersey voters.

The telephone and online poll of 600 likely voters was conducted Oct. 15-18 and has a margin of error of 3.9 percentage points.

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