Planet Princeton

Poll: Majority of NJ voters still undecided on gubernatorial pick to succeed Christie

Democrat Phil Murphy and Republican Kim Guadagno are the early front runners in the New Jersey primary races for governor, but neither candidate has the June primary race locked up.

About 57 percent of registered Democrats and 42 percent of registered Republicans are still undecided in the primary races, according to the latest poll by Quinnipiac University. The figures do not include independent voters.

Murphy and Guadagno are still largely unknown by voters in their political parties. Seventy percent of respondents said they “don’t know enough” about Murphy, while 63 percent said they don’t know enough about Guadagno, who topped comedian Joe Piscopo by 10 percentage points in the latest poll.

“The leading candidates – Republican Kim Guadagno and Democrat Phil Murphy – are little known, despite her years as lieutenant governor and the huge amount of money he already has spent,” said Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Will that change if they win the nominations? Sure, but it’s hardly an auspicious start.”

In a general election matchup between Murphy and Guadagno, Murphy leads 47 to 25 percent, with 25 percent undecided, the Quinnipiac University poll finds.

Just under 1,100 New Jersey voters were surveyed for the poll. Murphy would receive 23 percent of the vote in a Democratic primary, with 6 percent for Assembly member John Wisniewski, 4 percent each for former U.S. Treasury Under Secretary Jim Johnson and State Sen. Raymond Lesniak and 2 percent for activist Bill Brennan.

Robert Becker, campaign manager for Democratic candidate John Wisniewski, was quick to respond to the poll results, saying they show that governor’s race is still wide open in spite of the large sum of money Murphy, a former Goldman Sachs executive, has already spent on his campaign.

“Murphy has spent an astronomical amount of his Goldman Sachs fortune — an estimated $15-20 million so far — on television ads and waves of negative mail attacking his strongest opponent John Wisniewski, yet he only garners 23 percent,” Becker said in a statement. ““No amount of Phil Murphy’s Wall Street fortune can shake the toxic albatross around his neck — his two decades at Goldman Sachs. Democrats need to recognize how fundamentally flawed Murphy is as a candidate, before it is too late. Otherwise, Murphy’s collapse in the general election will allow for a weak Republican candidate to win in November, and that would be devastating for the Democratic Party in New Jersey and America.”

In a Republican primary, Guadagno leads with 28 percent, followed by 18 percent for comedian Joe Piscopo, 3 percent for Assembly member Jack Ciattarelli, 2 percent for Nutley Commissioner Steve Rogers and 1 percent for entrepreneur Joseph Rullo.

According to the poll, about 76 percent of New Jersey voters disapprove of the job Gov. Christopher Christie is doing, compared to a 78 percent disapproval rating in a Jan. 31 Quinnipiac University poll. Most voters give Gov. Christie a D or an F for job performance. Christie will not get much done in his last year as governor, 77 percent of voters say, while 19 percent say he can be effective. Christie should take the sports radio job for which he is being considered, according to 45 percent of the people polled.

“The big question about Gov. Christopher Christie seems to be: How low can his job- approval go? Can he bounce back even a little bit before his term expires?” Carroll said.

President Donald Trump’s approval ratings decreased in the most recent poll, with 59 percent of the people polled saying they disapprove of the job he is doing compared with 55 percent on Jan. 31.

Sen. Cory Booker received a positive approval rating of 57 percent, while only 45 percent of voters think U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez is doing a good job, down from a 51 percent in January.

“Sen. Cory Booker remains the most popular politician in New Jersey,” Carroll said. “Is it too early to start thinking about a 2020 presidential bid?”

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • PR31

    The last thing we need now is the face of Wall Street. I am not undecided.

  • Lisa McCormick

    The pollsters failed to identify a majority of candidates running for the Democratic nomination, so the result of the survey is questionable at best. A smarter, more fair and honest effort to examine the state of the contest would have been to ask an open ended question of voters, such as “Which candidate would you vote for if the election for governor was held today?”

    With 57% undecided among Democrats, it is clear that the Wall Street billionaire who wants to buy the election is failing. Since there has been a class war in America for the last 40 years and 99 percent of us have been robbed and cheated, it is time to fight back by rejecting the political insiders who failed us. It is time to fight back by identifying Wall Street as the enemy.

    It is time to elect one of us, but the main stream media and academics who are dependent on the political establishment for much of their funding are going to deny the truth by pretending we have a choice among four millionaires.

    Politicians are going to lie to you, pollsters will lie to you, most journalists will tell you half the truth, but it is up to citizens to elect the best candidates. If you are considering a millionaire or billionaire, then you are asking to get screwed again and nobody can help you.

  • machinehater

    I like Rullo

  • Robert Dana

    It might be more accurate to say — a majority of voters for their respective parties are unsure as to their nominee.

    In a match-up between Murphy and the Kim woman, the voters don’t seem very undecided at all.

    But as we know with pollls these days – GIGO.

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