A Stockton University poll shows that Garden State residents continue to support mandates that look to contain the spread of the coronavirus and Gov. Phil Murphy’s handling of the pandemic since March 2020.
Additionally, the poll found Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli continues to chip away at Murphy’s lead, with the Sept. 29 poll showing the incumbent’s lead now in single digits for the first time since June.
New Jerseyans voiced strong support for policies aimed at controlling the virus, including 58% backing a mask mandate in schools, 56% supporting a mandate that employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or be tested weekly for the virus and 63% wanting a vaccine requirement for healthcare workers.
Pandemic Top Issue
But half of those polled oppose requiring proof of vaccination to enter restaurants, public events, or entertainment venues, 50% to 46% in support.
The handling of the pandemic, the top issue by the largest percentage (25%) of those surveyed, continues to be a strong issue for Murphy. Respondents said Murphy would better manage the pandemic over Ciattarelli at 50%-34%.
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The poll showed Murphy still has a nine point percentage lead over Ciattarelli, 50%-41% including voters who lean toward one candidate or the other. Nine percent are undecided or not liking either candidate in the statewide poll of likely voters taken before the two squared off on the debate stage Sept. 28.
Murphy Job Rating
Murphy has held a double digit lead since the first head to head poll after the June primaries. A Monmouth poll released a week ago showed a tightening race, 51% of registered voters polled said they would support the first term governor while 38% back the former Assemblyman. In August, the polling outfit found Murphy with a 52% to 36% lead.
Murphy received positive job ratings of 54% in the Stockton poll from, with 41% disapproving of his performance. He is viewed favorably by 50% and unfavorably by 43%, with only 5% unfamiliar with the governor.
The Stockton poll includes some positives for Ciattarelli in other issues paramount in the race. With taxes being a major line of his attack against Murphy, 46% said Ciattarelli would be better at handling New Jersey tax policy compared to 38% for Murphy on that issue. The candidates are nearly even when it comes to better managing the state economy—43% for Ciattarelli and 42% for Murphy.
A slim majority believes New Jersey is heading in the wrong direction, 45.5% to 44.3% who think the state is going in the right direction. That has changed from a Spring 2021 Stockton Poll that recorded 49% responding New Jersey was headed in the right direction and 40% said it was going in the wrong direction.
“Even though this result is a statistical tie, an incumbent wants more people feeling good about how things are going in the state,” said John Froonjian, director of the Hughes Center at Stockton.
The polling outfit quired about a gambling initiative on the ballot this November. A plurality of voters (45%) opposed a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would allow gambling on college games held in the state or games in which New Jersey college teams participate, while 40% support the proposal and 14% are unsure.
The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in New Jersey totaled 11,651,798 in-state, plus an additional 431,321 administered out-of-state for a grand total of 12,083,119 as of Sept. 29. Of those who have received the vaccine, 5,660,833 received their second dose or the one jab Johnson & Johnson dose in state and another 185,252 out of state, bringing those fully vaccinated to 5,846,085. Additionally 129,320 have received a third booster shot.
In North Jersey, Bergen County has delivered 1,300,989 doses (632,062 fully vaccinated), Essex 1,011,655 doses (485,832), Hudson 915,382 doses (440,550), Morris 705,001 doses (341,628), Passaic 628,327 doses (303,366), Sussex 166,066 doses (82,060), and Warren 108,554 doses (53,244).
As of Sept. 29, the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases in New Jersey was 1,001,635 with 1,608 total new PCR cases. There were 519 probable cases, bringing the cumulative total of antigen tests to 150,608. The total number of individual cases for the state is 1,152,243.
As for those that have passed, the state reported 20 confirmed deaths, bringing that total to 24,613. The state listed probable deaths at 2,787, bringing the overall total to 27,400. State officials noted 11 deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
For North Jersey counties on Sept. 29, Bergen had a total of 147 new confirmed cases and 45 new probable cases, Essex 143 new cases and 22 new probable case, Hudson 66 new cases and eight new probable cases, Morris 56 new confirmed cases and 22 new probable cases, Passaic 67 new cases and 33 new probable cases, Sussex 34 new cases and 13 new probable cases, and Warren 22 new cases and eight new probable cases.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 2,811, followed by Bergen at 2,649, Hudson with 2,145, Passaic at 1,784, Morris at 1,021, Sussex at 251, and Warren County at 225.
In regards to probable deaths reported Sept. 27, Essex has 311, Bergen has 306, Morris has 265, Hudson has 222, Passaic has 206, Sussex has 68 and Warren has 26.
Of the 5,421,060 fully vaccinated individuals studied as of Sept. 13, 25,991 New Jersey residents have tested positive for COVID who were fully vaccinated, resulting in 537 COVID-related hospitalizations and 126 COVID-related deaths. All those are less than 1% in each category.
In the week of Sept. 7-Sept. 12, breakthroughs accounted for 22.8% of all new cases (2,449 of 10,760), 3.7% of new hospilizations (32 of 863), and two of the 55 deaths.
As for the rate of transmission reported Sept. 29, it declined to 0.97 from 0.99 the day before. The daily rate of infections from those tested Sept. 25 was 6.1%; by region, the rate was 4.9% in the North, 7.0% in the Central region and 8.0% in the South.
The state reported 1,060 patients were hospitalized; by region, there were 335 in the North, 353 in the Central and 372 in the South. Of those hospitalized, 233 are in intensive care units and 126 on ventilators. A total of 112 patients were discharged in the last 24 hour reporting period.
Officials have continually cited transmission rate, hospitalizations, intensive care units, ventilators and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
In regards to cases related to in-school transmissions, the state has tracked 44 school outbreaks and 214 cases linked to those outbreaks since the 2021/2022 school year starting Aug. 7, up 21 outbreaks and 112 cases from the week previous. According to state officials, the cases account for 182 students and 37 teachers in 38 communities across 16 counties.
Outbreaks are defined as three or more laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases among students or staff with onsets within a 14 day period, linked within the school setting, do not share a household, and were not identified as close contacts of each other in another setting during standard case investigation or contact tracing.
For North Jersey in the weekly update Sept. 28, Essex County has three confirmed outbreak with 15 cases, Bergen County has one confirmed outbreak with four cases, Sussex has one confirmed outbreak with one case, Morris County has two confirmed outbreaks with eight cases, Hudson County has two confirmed outbreaks with nine cases and Essex County has one confirmed outbreak with 50 cases. No outbreaks were reported in Warren County.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 151 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 1,178 of the cases, broken down between 641 residents and 537 staff.
Cumulatively, 1,721 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 33,631 residents and 22,972 staff, for a total of 56,603.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 8,543 on Sept. 29. The facilities are reporting to the state 7,961 residents deaths and 145 staff deaths.