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Eagleton poll gives insight into state opinion on Murphy's proposed tax, overall performance

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 The Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling conducts surveys for research on all levels of government and nonprofit organizations. Their survey on New Jerseyans' opinion of Gov. Phil Murphy surveyed more than 1,000 adults. 

A joint Eagleton Institute of Politics and Fairleigh Dickinson University poll found a majority of New Jerseyans support Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D-N.J.) proposed tax on millionaires, but expressed mixed views on his overall performance as the state’s head. This was the first such polling partnership between the two institutions. 

Approximately 46 percent of New Jerseyans strongly support and approximately 26 percent somewhat support raising taxes on households making more than $1 million a year. The poll found that only 14 percent each either strongly or somewhat oppose the proposed bill. 

“Support is just as strong for the millionaire's tax as it was a year ago,” said Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP). “This may change as more details are released and as the proposal plays out in the legislature in the coming months, but as of now, this could be the major win that Murphy needs — at least in the public’s eyes.” 

New Jerseyans’ views on Murphy’s overall performance are not as strong, the poll found. Approximately 50 percent of New Jerseyans believe he has not made any significant accomplishments while in office, and approximately 52 percent approve and 43 disapprove of his job performance. This means that his disapproval rating has increased by double-digits since last fall. 

“These numbers are similar to both of his most recent predecessors, Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) and Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) at a similar time in their administrations. One went on to a second term, while the other was defeated two years later,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of government at Fairleigh Dickinson University and director of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll.

Murphy's lowest approval ratings on his management of specific issues were for taxes and state pension funds. The poll found that the only majority approval was for his handling of weather-related emergencies. 

New Jerseyans think Murphy is doing about as well as they expected by 56 percent, the poll found. Sixteen percent responded that he was outperforming expectations and 25 percent said he was underperforming. Yet people’s expectations do not correlate with optimism, for 58 percent of those polled were pessimistic about the state’s direction, compared to 42 percent who were optimistic. 

The poll contacted 1,203 adults between March 7 and 22, 621 of which were from live calls and 582 through an online probability-based panel. The margin of error was +/- 3.7 percentage points. 

Brendan Brightman

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