If yesterday’s Monmouth University and today’s Stockton University polls are accurate, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is poised to reverse a 40-year trend.

No Democrat New Jersey Governor since Brendan Byrne has won re-election to a second term.

Byrne was New Jersey’s 47th Governor, who served from 1974-1982.

The Monmouth University poll gives Governor Murphy an 11-point lead over Republican Nominee Jack Ciatterelli.

Today’s Stockton University poll has Murphy up by 9 points, 50% to 41%

Stockton added those voters leaning to Murphy and Ciatterelli into the mix, which is the right thing to do with the election actually underway … today is Day 6 of New Jersey’s first-ever early voting … which continues through Sunday, October 31, 2021.

The poll of 522 likely voters was conducted for the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University and has a +/- 4.3% margin of error.

“When you consider that this poll was taken after the gubernatorial debates were done, it appears that voters’ feelings are fairly baked in at this point,” said John Froonjian, Hughes Center executive director. “The polling spread between the candidates is very consistent.”

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Here are some interesting and seemingly inconsistent findings:

More voters (45%) thought the state was going in the wrong direction than the right direction (42%), with 13% unsure. But 52% still approved of Murphy’s job performance leading the state as governor, while 44% disapproved.

Property taxes (15%) and taxes in general (12%) continue to be a top issue identified by voters, followed by COVID safety (11%) and the economy (8%).

Nearly identical levels of extreme partisan polarization were evident among Democrats and Republicans across every measure, but Democrats have the advantage of more than one million more registered voters. Murphy also led with independents in the poll, showing improvement with that bloc of voters since the earlier Stockton Poll.

Ciattarelli leads among white voters and men while Murphy is supported at higher rates by those with a four-year degree or more, Hispanic voters, women, and, overwhelmingly, by Black voters, said research associate Alyssa Maurice.

Other key findings:

  • More than half (60%) of N.J. voters did not watch or listen to either Murphy-Ciattarelli governor debate, while 39% did.
  • Nearly all voters (95%) skipped the Lieutenant governor debate with only 3% tuning in.

“The fact that many did not view the gubernatorial candidate debates does not reflect negatively on the value of these debates,” Froonjian said. “Most partisans already know how they are going to vote, but debates have value in allowing undecided or uncertain voters to evaluate the candidates in action.”

Voters oppose college sports gambling in N.J.

The majority of voters (51%) opposed a constitutional amendment to allow gambling on college games held in N.J. or on games in which N.J. teams participate. This is up from 45% in a September Stockton poll. Thirty-seven percent support such an amendment while 11% are unsure.

Find full Stockton University poll results here.

Early voting locations in each NJ county

Each county in the state will have between three and 10 early voting locations, open daily for the 2021 general election from Oct. 23 through Oct. 31. The sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. except for Sundays, when they will close at 6 p.m.

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