⚫ Gov. Murphy's approval rating remains in positive territory

⚫ Most residents admit they're unaware of Murphy's most recent budget proposal

⚫ Many residents are unsure of Murphy's plan to tax businesses to fund NJ Transit

Gov. Phil Murphy's job approval numbers are holding steady among New Jersey adults, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll.

It's still in "positive" territory — there are more folks that like the job he is doing than those who do not. According to the survey of more than 800 New Jersey adults in March, 50% approve and 42% disapprove of the Democratic governor's job performance.

The same percentage gave a thumbs-up to Murphy in August 2023, but his approval numbers are down a good amount from the start of his second term in 2022 (57%).

The shift since then is mainly due to growing disapproval among independents. Forty-nine percent disapprove of the job Murphy is doing today, compared to 35% two years ago. Approval among independents has gone down from 51% to 43% over that time.

Approval for Murphy was as high as 72% in April 2020, when New Jersey was in the beginning stage of its battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Murphy's budget and spending

A little more than half of the poll respondents believe Murphy has done a good job managing New Jersey's finances since he first took office.

Still, just 25% would go as far as saying that Murphy's spending priorities are in line with their own when it comes to how the state spends its budget. Fifty percent of Democrats said Murphy's spending priorities are in line with their own.

Forty-five percent of respondents said Murphy's priorities are too liberal for them.

"The prevailing opinion is that Murphy does a decent job keeping an eye on the books, but there is disagreement on where he chooses to focus his efforts," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "This is more of a general sense about his priorities than a specific critique of any given policy, given that few New Jerseyans actually follow the budget process."

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More than half of the poll respondents said they had heard nothing about Murphy's latest budget proposal for the state, which he unveiled on Feb. 27.

When asked about the headline grabber of Murphy's proposal — an added tax on certain businesses in order to create a dedicated fund for NJ Transit — 40% of poll respondents said they approve. Twenty-eight percent said they disapprove, and 32% said they're unsure.

Just four in 10 believe that a dedicated NJ Transit fund will lead to significant improvements at the agency, which handles most of the buses and trains in the state.

According to the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, Murphy's business tax proposal would have received even less support among Garden Staters if more context were offered — the fact that the fee is an additional surtax on businesses, for example.

“Even with all that unavailable context, however, there was not overwhelming support for the tax increase," said NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Christopher Emigholz. "For our part, the popularity of the proposal pales in comparison to our take that it’s simply terrible policy, one that is punitive to our businesses that deserve much better from our policy leaders, and one that would ultimately hurt New Jersey’s economy.”

When asked about the performance of NJ Transit, about four in 10 residents gave the agency an excellent (6%) or good (37%) rating. About two-thirds said the agency does a fair job; 12% graded NJ Transit's performance as poor.

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