Biden-Murphy Collage - File Photo.jpg

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GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - About the only thing New Jersey Republicans and Democrats agree on, according to a Stockton University Poll released March 31, is that many would like even more stimulus aid than was provided in the recent $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package.

Beyond that, however, a poll of 647 New Jersey voters found that the deep polarization that characterized the 2020 election extends to the new Biden administration and major policy issues being debated.

According to a release, a majority of registered voters polled approve of the job President Biden is doing and support his positions, but the chasm between Democrats and Republicans on virtually every issue is deep.

Overall, 53% approved of Biden’s job performance, while 38% disapproved, and 9% were unsure. Another 53% thought the country is going in the right direction, with 39% saying it’s going in the wrong direction.

One in four Republicans (25%) supported the Covid relief bill, compared to most Democrats (93%) favoring it, but a question asking voters to rate the amount of aid provided showed rare bipartisan agreement. Half the voters of both parties and independents thought the amount of relief provided was not enough. 

Overall, 29% said the aid level was the right amount and 12% said too much was provided. The federal government is sending $1,400 checks to a majority of Americans, after providing $600 payments in December.

While there was bipartisan support for more aid, respondents did not always agree on how that aid should be allocated. Respondents from both major parties called for greater direct stimulus payments and more small business relief. 

More Republicans than Democrats wanted at least some foreign aid to be redirected to Americans. More Democrats than Republicans supported extended unemployment benefits.

According to the poll conducted for the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University, majorities felt somewhat or very confident that Biden can ease the coronavirus pandemic (76%), improve the economy (62%), increase health care access (68%) and unify the country (56%). Sixty percent supported the recent coronavirus relief package, and 63% supported raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

However, the poll results differed dramatically on most issues according to party identification. 

Democrats, who make up the largest voter bloc in New Jersey, at 39%, overwhelmingly supported Biden (91% approval), while few Republicans did (12%).

“The polarization we saw on presidential candidates, in the 2020 election, extends not only into the new presidency but to the major issues of the day,” stated John Froonjian, executive director of the Hughes Center.

Partisan differences on specific issues included the following.

Murphy's Job Approval

Regarding New Jersey state politics, 58% approved of Gov. Phil Murphy’s job performance, either somewhat or strongly, with 36% disapproving. The job approval rating was the highest Murphy has received in the three years the Stockton Poll has asked that question, stated Alyssa Maurice, Hughes Center research associate.

However, just under half (49%) said the state of New Jersey is going in the right direction. That was still higher than the 40% who said “wrong direction,” with 10% unsure. 

Racial and ethnic minorities, women, Democrats and lower income residents – all part of Murphy’s voting base – were more bullish on the state’s direction. Men, wealthier residents, whites and Republicans were more likely to say the state is going in the wrong direction.

In other poll results:

· 52% of voters disapprove of the job Congress is doing, and 40% approve, with 8% are unsure

· Easing the pandemic was identified as the top issue for the federal government to address, followed by immigration

· And a majority supported expanding vote by mail and early voting (58%), while 40% opposed such measures. Murphy signed early voting in New Jersey into law March 30.

To view full poll results, click here.

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