Biden approval in NJ drops to 43% ahead of Gov. Murphy election fight


The backlash against President Biden has spread to solid-blue New Jersey, a new poll finds, where Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is in a dogfight for reelection.

The Monmouth University survey released Wednesday found that just 43 percent of New Jerseyans approve of Biden’s performance in the White House — down from 51 percent in August and 55 percent in May.

Nearly half of Garden State residents (49 percent) disapprove of the job Biden is doing, up from 41 percent in August and 40 percent in May.

Biden’s decline in the Garden State — which he carried by nearly 16 percentage points in last year’s presidential election — is in line with the national trend. A Quinnipiac University survey released last week found that just 37 percent of Americans approve of the job the president is doing, down from 46 percent in August and 49 percent in May.

The Monmouth poll shows Biden underwater with every age group and performing worst among younger New Jersey voters. Just 38 percent of Garden State residents between the ages of 18 and 34 approve of the president’s job performance, while 52 percent disapprove.

Biden is also sliding among white New Jersey residents with a college degree, with 45 percent approving of his work and 50 percent disapproving.

President Joe Biden walks on stage to speak at a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021
President Joe Biden walks on stage to speak at a rally for Democratic gubernatorial candidate — former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe — on Oct. 26, 2021.
Alex Brandon/AP

The president gets better marks from minority voters, with 69 percent of black voters approving of his job performance while 52 percent of Hispanic, Asian, and other ethnic groups also give Biden the thumbs-up.

Biden also suffers from comparison with Murphy. Not only does the governor have a higher approval rating than the president (52 percent compared to Biden’s 43 percent), but when asked which of the two pols has been able to “get more things done,” nearly a third of voters (32 percent) answered Murphy, while only 7 percent picked Biden (47 percent said the two men had accomplished “about the same amount”).

Murphy holds an 11-point lead among registered voters over Republican Jack Ciattarelli in the poll, with Monmouth’s range of likely turnout models showing the incumbent in front by between 8 and 14 percentage points.

Gov. Phil Murphy speaks at an early vote rally at Weequahic Park, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021
Gov. Phil Murphy is leading in the polls for the race over Republican Jack Ciattarelli.
Stefan Jeremiah/AP

Wednesday’s poll shows a slight narrowing of Murphy’s lead, which was 13 percentage points among registered voters in September and 16 percentage points in August.

“We’ve had a couple of debates and a slew of advertising since the last Monmouth poll,” Monmouth University Polling Institute Patrick Murray said in a release. “Ciattarelli has chipped away at Murphy’s lead but hasn’t delivered the knockout he needs.”

Biden traveled to New Jersey on Monday to promote his multitrillion-dollar spending plan and praised Murphy for “showing the way” on “so many of the national challenges we’re confronting … whether it’s making health or preschool or college more affordable, or providing paid family leave and replacing lead in pipes and protecting public health.”

“The president’s visit on Monday may have done more to boost Biden rather than Murphy when you look at their approval ratings,” Murray said.

The poll surveyed 1,000 registered New Jersey voters between Oct. 21 and Oct. 25. It has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.1 percentage points.

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