Murphy holds big lead over Ciattarelli in governor’s race, new poll shows

Murphy holds big lead over Ciattarelli in New Jersy governor’s race, new poll shows. Gov. Phil Murphy carries a strong lead to win a second term in New Jersey against a Republican opponent who’s struggling to get voters’ attention, according to a new poll.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll released Monday shows Murphy, a Democrat, has a 15-point lead — 48% to 33% — over former state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, who won the Republican nomination nearly two weeks ago.

Seventy percent of New Jersey registered voters said they don’t know enough of Ciattarelli to have an opinion of him and 17% conceded they’ve never heard of him, according to the poll. Among Republicans, 35% have a favorable opinion of Ciattarelli, but 57% said they don’t have an opinion of him. Overall, 16% of voters have a favorable opinion of him and 14% unfavorable.
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Murphy, meanwhile, is gets positive job approval ratings from 50% of voters, including 81% of Democrats and 11% of Republicans. Nearly 40% said they disapproved of the job he’s doing.

The governor’s ratings are up from where they were prior to the coronavirus pandemic, when only 42% approved of the job he was doing, according to a February 2020 FDU poll.

“Ciatterelli has his work cut out for him,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of government and politics at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the executive director of the poll. “Being unknown is better than being disliked, but running ads in New Jersey to build up awareness is an expensive proposition.”

Even though Ciattarelli remains a largely unknown, 77% of Republicans say they’ll support him in November while 84% of Democrats will back Murphy. But Republicans are outnumbered by registered Democrats by more than 1 million people as of the beginning of June.

The FDU poll is the latest to show Murphy has the edge in the upcoming election.

A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released earlier in the month showed Murphy with a 26 point lead — 52% to 26% — lead over Ciattarelli.

No Democrat has been re-elected governor since Brendan Byrne in 1977, though voters went for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in consecutive elections in 2001 and 2005.

The poll surveyed 803 registered voters in the state between June 9 and 16. It was conducted over landlines and cell phones and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.46 percentage points.
State still doesn’t have permit process for hanging American flags over Turnpike, Parkway

Veterans’ groups and patriotic individuals looking for rules and permit applications to properly display American flags on overpasses spanning the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway haven’t been able to find them.A New Jersey man who served as an administrator for a union health plan while also working as vice president for a company that provided administrative services to the union’s funds has been charged with tax evasion, authorities said,

In addition to five counts of tax evasion, Jose Santa Maria, 41, of North Haledon is charged with paying kickbacks related to an employee benefit plan and making false statements in relation to an employee benefit plan, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

Santa Maria failed to pay $33,765 on $153,747 in unreported income in 2015, according to charging documents; $47,107 on $199,786 in 2016; $42,679 on $181, 597 in 2017; $38,399 on $166,048 in 2018 and $16,080 on $54,682 in 2019. In total, Santa Maria failed to pay taxes on about $750,000 in income, prosecutors allege.

He also paid at least $50,000 to a person not named in court papers to keep his positions as the plan administrator to the funds and vice president of the company.

Neither the company, the union, nor Santa Maria’s co-conspirators — one of whom is an attorney — were named in court papers. The co-conspirators are an insurance broker and the managing partner of a law firm and are related to one another.

Santa Maria made a first appearance via teleconference on Thursday. His attorney, Roseland-based Scott McBride, couldn’t immediately be reached Monday morning.

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