Gov. Phil Murphy's approval rating among New Jersey adults continues to slip since the start of his second term last year, according to a Monmouth University Poll released on Wednesday.

Fifty percent of Garden State adults approve of Murphy's overall job performance and 39% disapprove, the poll finds. The numbers are nearly identical (50 approve, 40 disapprove) among registered voters.

Job approval for Murphy is up a good amount since his first term pre-COVID. But it's down seven points from when residents were asked the same question in April 2022.

Among Democrats, Murphy's approval rating is at 85% now, compared to 86% in spring of last year. Murphy lost points among independents and Republicans.

"In this day and age when politics is so divided, it's very hard to eat into the other party's base," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

A third of poll respondents said that Murphy has achieved major accomplishments during his time as governor, and 39% said he's had minor accomplishments. A quarter of respondents said Murphy has no real accomplishments to hang his hat on.

Poll respondents also delivered lower approval numbers for the New Jersey Legislature. Thirty-seven percent approve of the job the Legislature is doing — compared to 44% in April 2022 — and 45% disapprove (up from 39%).

Replacing New Jersey's lieutenant governor

Celebration of life events honoring the late Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver (Rich Hundley III/Governor’s office)
Celebration of life events honoring the late Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver (Rich Hundley III/Governor’s office)

Gender and race don't need to be a priority as Murphy decides who should take over for the late Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver, according to New Jersey residents in the poll.

Oliver, who passed away on Aug. 1, was the first woman of color to hold statewide office in the Garden State. But 83% of residents said that race should not be a factor in the search for a successor, and 80% said the new leader's gender does not matter to them.

"I thought that more Democrats, more African Americans particularly, would want to make sure that the governor replaces the late Sheila Oliver, who was a barrier breaker in her political career, with someone who also continues that trend," Murray said.

Fifteen percent of respondents, including 32% of Black New Jerseyans, said Murphy should appoint another person of color. Sixteen percent want Murphy to choose a woman.

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