New Jersey’s Democratic Governor, Phil Murphy, faced a continuous barrage of disapproving sounds when he was invited on stage during a concert in Red Bank. As singer Brian Kirk performed at Red Rock Tap & Grill, he extended an invitation to Governor Murphy to join him. However, upon his arrival, the audience expressed their disapproval with loud boos. Without addressing the crowd, the governor briefly interacted with the band members through hugs and handshakes before promptly exiting the stage.
“Hey, what did I tell you guys. Listen to me. Listen to me. He didn’t want to hear that. He’s a buddy of mine. This is not about politics. He’s a friend of mine. Do not do that. Please. Don’t do that.” Expressing his evident frustration, Kirk addressed the audience.
Murphy assumed the role of New Jersey’s governor in 2018, succeeding the term-limited Chris Christie, whose approval rating was notably low when he left office. Despite his comfortable victory in the 2017 election that led him to the governor’s mansion, Murphy faced a formidable challenge from Republican contender Jack Ciattarelli in 2021. Ciattarelli heavily criticized Murphy’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdown measures.
In a race that defied earlier predictions, Murphy ultimately emerged as the winner, albeit with a narrower margin than anticipated. He secured victory by a margin of less than 90,000 votes and just over three percentage points. This outcome marked a significant shift compared to 2017 when Murphy’s win over Republican opponent Kim Guadagno was by a margin of over 300,000 votes.
Despite the tight race in 2021, Murphy has upheld mostly favorable approval ratings throughout his tenure as governor. Based on a recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll, the governor currently enjoys a 47% approval rating. However, the poll also highlights that 50% of respondents expressed concerns that the state is on the wrong path, while 42% believe that New Jersey is moving in the right direction.