What is New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy more focused on: running the Garden State or planning for his own political future?

A just-released survey finds a significant difference of opinion on the issue.

Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said on the question of what Murphy is most concerned with right now, “45% say he is primarily focused on governing the state, but an identical 45% say that he’s more concerned with looking out for his own political future.”

Murray said a year ago, when the pandemic was raging, a majority of respondents said the governor was more concerned about looking out for the state, but now more people seem to be unsure about which direction things are moving in.

Murphy vs. Christie

He said after Chris Christie served as governor “there’s always a sense now with New Jersey governors that they’re looking for something on the horizon.”

Murray noted when Christie was starting his second term as governor eight years ago, as the Bridgegate scandal was unfolding, a poll found 35% of New Jerseyans believed he was most concerned about running the state, while 54% said he was more focused on his political future.

A run for president?

On the issue of whether Murphy is thinking about running for the White House, 37% believe he’s planning to run for president.

Gov. Phil Murphy
Gov. Phil Murphy (Office of the Governor)

About 56% of New Jersey residents in the poll say that Murphy would not be a good president even though 55% also say he’s doing a decent job as governor. But 33% of respondents feel Murphy would be a good chief executive.

“That’s not really a ringing endorsement but it’s still better than for Chris Christie, where 69% said that he wouldn’t make a good president,” Murray said.

Focus on the job at hand

Murray said it’s becoming clear “there’s this idea that we’ve had enough here in New Jersey of governors trying to run for president and just keep your eye on the job you have right now.”

The poll also looked at the impact Murphy has had on the reputation of New Jersey: 33% say that he’s helped the state’s image, 24% that say he hurt the image, and 40% say he made no difference in the image.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 31 to April 4, with 802 New Jersey adults. The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

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The state Department of Education announced district-level school aid figures for the 2022-23 school year on Thursday, March 10, 2022. They're listed below, alphabetically by county. For additional details from the NJDOE, including specific categories of aid, click here.

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