Poll finds New Jerseyans like new governor’s job performance, so far

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy  (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

Three months into his term in office, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is getting a positive rating from voters.

A Monmouth University Polling Institute survey showed 44 percent of New Jersey residents approve of the job Murphy is doing, while 28 percent disapprove.

That’s a better rating than the previous two governors, Chris Christie and Jon Corzine, had at the same point of their terms, said poll director Patrick Murray.

“Part of Phil Murphy’s positive job approval rating right now has a lot to do with the fact that he’s still really an unknown commodity,” Murray said. “He came into office with people really not knowing what he stood for, and he continues to fly under the radar.”

Murray said the governor is enjoying a honeymoon period with voters.

“Part of that honeymoon period is not because of underlying public support for what he’s doing. It’s more they’re just letting him go and do what he’s going to do without paying a lot of attention right now,” he said. “I think that’s going to change after we get past the budget cycle in June, and people see what his real policies are as they get put into place.”

Murphy campaigned on a platform to build the middle class, but only 26 percent of those polled expect his policies will ultimately help that group; 41 percent expect they’ll be hurt.

Those polled believe Murphy’s policies are most likely to benefit the poor.

In the meantime, the governor’s proposals for tax increases to fund new programs are meeting with resistance from lawmakers as they hold hearings on his budget plan.

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