A new Monmouth University poll about this year’s New Jersey governor’s race shows Democrat Phil Murphy with a 27-point lead over Republican Kim Guadagno.
It will be an uphill battle for Guadagno to close that gap, said poll director Patrick Murray.
“The only thing that could happen within the fundamentals of this race is if the Republican brand starts to regain some credibility with voters here in New Jersey — and Murphy simply just ignores the property tax issue and Guadagno continues to hammer away at her plan, and voters start to tune into that,” he said.
Half of the voters surveyed said property taxes are their biggest concern.
Six out of 10 voters don’t know enough about either candidate to form an opinion, Murray said.
“As they learn more about Guadagno and her role as Christie’s No. 2 in the state, considering how unpopular Christie is, it doesn’t seem likely that she’s going to be making up a lot of territory,” he said. “By the same token, Phil Murphy is not well known. Something could come out unfavorable about him that could really torpedo his chances too.”
Murray doesn’t expect residents to get interested in the governor’s race until October.
“They’re paying attention to a significant number of other news stories,” he said. “With what’s coming out of Washington, the political news cycle will be overwhelming what’s happening in this gubernatorial race.
“So it’s going to be very hard for these candidates to break through.”