The gubernatorial race in New Jersey between Democrat Gov. Phil Murphy and Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli has tightened, according to a poll released Monday by the Trafalgar Group.
Murphy’s lead has steadily been shrinking in public polls and he now leads by just 4.2 percentage points in the Trafalgar poll, 49.4% to 45.2%, while 4.3% are undecided. The survey, conducted Oct. 29-31, has a margin of error of 2.98%.
Murphy, who would be the first incumbent Democrat to be reelected since 1977 should he win, is up in other polls significantly: 11 points among registered voters in a Monmouth University poll and 9 points among likely voters in a Stockton University poll.
Ciattarelli, a former state assemblyman who in June defeated GOP opponents more closely aligned with former President Donald Trump for the party’s nomination, has pinned Murphy as an outsider who is out of touch.
“This is the guy who said to the highest-taxed people in the nation, ‘if taxes are your issue, we’re probably not your state,'” Ciattarelli told a crowd in Edison on Thursday. “He’s out of touch. I’m main street; he’s Wall Street. I’m an MBA/CPA; he’s an investment banker. I’m you; he’s somebody else. He roots for the Red Sox; let’s send him back to Massachusetts.”
New Jersey is reliably blue in presidential and Senate elections, but Republicans won gubernatorial elections in off-years, including 1994 and 2009, the years after Democrats took control of the White House.