Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy Leads NJ Gubernatorial Race by Double Digits

In this Aug. 25, 2020 file photo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy speaks during his 2021 budget address at SHI Stadium at Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ. Murphy says he and fellow Democratic legislative leaders have agreed to raise income taxes on millionaires, Thursday, Sept. 17, while also giving about …
AP Photo/Noah K. Murray, File

New Jersey’s Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy is leading by double digits in the state’s gubernatorial race, a Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released this week found.

The Garden State held its primary elections on Tuesday, solidifying former New Jersey Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli’s (R) bid against Murphy, who won the Democrat nomination and is now vying for a second term:

Fifty-nine year-old Ciattarelli won more than 49 percent of the vote in the Republican primary with nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting, and he defeated his fellow GOP challengers — Philip Rizzo, Hirsh Singh, and Brian Levine — most of whom aimed to be closely associated with the agenda of former President Donald Trump.

The statewide survey, taken among 1,004 adults May 21-29, showed what was described as a “clear path to reelection victory” for Murphy.

When asked if they would “definitely” vote to reelect Murphy as governor or choose someone else, 42 percent of registered voters said they would “definitely” vote to reelect him, followed by 31 percent who said they would “definitely” vote for someone else, and 21 percent who said they would “consider voting for someone else.”

However, support for Murphy jumped ten percent when Ciattarelli was brought into the mix, 52 percent of registered voters indicating they would support Murphy, followed by 26 percent for Ciattarelli. Ten percent said they do not know whom they would vote for, six percent said “neither,” and four percent said they would vote for someone else.

Notably, Murphy holds a double-digit lead among independent registered voters, 39 percent to his Republican challenger’s 29 percent.

“New Jersey has seen some uncompetitive gubernatorial races the past couple of cycles, and this race does not seem to be the exception right now,” Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP) at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, said in a statement.

“Murphy currently has a stronger lock on his base than Ciattarelli and beats him among independents right now by a double-digit lead,” Koning added.

The overall survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent.

Hirsh Singh, one of the now-former Republican candidates for governor, warned against Ciattarelli ahead of the primary, highlighting his then-opponent’s status as an establishment figure who has been critical of former President Donald Trump.

“My opponent, Jack Ciattarelli called Trump a charlatan,” Singh said during a recent appearance on Breitbart News Saturday. “He said President Trump was unfit to be president and he also basically told Chris Christie he should drop out as governor after he endorsed President Trump.”

“This guy hates President Trump, he hates Trump supporters, and we gotta take him out to pasture. He has been in politics since I was three years old,” he added, referring to him as an “outdated” politician and warning that a Ciattarelli primary victory would guarantee Murphy’s reelection.

“If Jack Ciattarelli wins this race on Tuesday … Phil Murphy will get reelected because Trump supporters are not gonna come out for someone who literally bashed Trump for four years,” Singh warned.

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