The race to succeed Gov. Chris Christie may not be much of a race at all, according to a new poll released by Quinnipiac University.
Democratic nominee Phil Murphy holds a 25-point lead over Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, a Republican, according to the first public poll released by Quinnipiac that surveyed likely voters in this November’s election.
His lead stretches across every gender, age, education and racial group listed in the poll. The only place Guadagno leads is among Republicans.
“As far as candidate qualifications go, New Jersey is holding a stealth election,” Maurice Carroll, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement. “Democrat Phil Murphy swamps Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, but about 40 percent of voters don’t know much about either of them.”
The poll is the first official survey of likely voters in the state’s upcoming November election. Surveys of registered New Jersey voters, conducted over the summer, also showed Murphy had a commanding lead.
Nearly half the likely voters surveyed said Guadagno’s role as lieutenant governor under Christie had a negative impact on their opinion of her. Eleven percent said it had a positive effect, while another 40 percentg said it didn’t matter.
Murphy’s 23-year career at Goldman Sachs was a negative for 30 percent of the likely voters. Almost two-thirds of the voters said it didn’t matter.
The top issue for likely voters is taxes, according to the poll, and the two candidates have vastly different perspectives on how to handle that issue.
Murphy plans to raise taxes by $1.3 billion that include increases for millionaires, hedge fund managers, large corporations and marijuana smokers, according to reports.
Murphy is in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana and then taxing it, which he said would bring in nearly $60 million the first year and $300 million annually by the third year.
Guadagno has touted a “circuit-breaker” tax plan, which would cap the amount homeowners pay in school taxes to 5 percent of the household’s income.
Homeowners would receive a tax credit for any amount above that cap, up to $3,000. For example, if a household making $100,000 per year has a school tax bill of $6,000, they would receive a $1,000 credit.
Guadagno has said payment for her plan will come from savings generated by a state audit on spending, specifically by stopping sick-pay abuse by public workers, reforming health-care costs, and forcing shared services on municipalities to cut costs.