ELECTION ’17 POLL: Guadagno trails Murphy by 16-points in N.J. Race

We got the first poll of Election 2017 this week, Save Jerseyans, and as you might expect, the GOP’s front runner is starting in a hole (although it’s arguably not one of her own doing).

Quinnipiac reports that presumptive Democrat nominee Phil Murphy (D-Goldman Sachs) leads Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno by 16-points, 45% to 29%, while 22% say they’re undecided in the early going.

Murphy’s lead is powered by a 38% to 28% edge among independent voters and a massive 80% to 5% (!) advantage with Democrats. Guadagno’s lead among Republicans is similarly large, 72% to 6%, but Democrats maintain a considerable voter registration advantage state-wide.

Murphy also wins women (50% to 21%) and men (40% to 37%).

Guadagno’s challenges are institutional. Her well-heeled opponent will outspend her by 2009 Christie v. Corzine margins (or worse), and Chris Christie’s basement-level approval ratings will dog her (or likely any Republican, at least to some degree) running this cycle.

What’s more, the vast majority of voters haven’t heard enough about the candidates (70% say that about Murphy, and 61% re: Guadagno) to render an opinion. That’s naturally a bigger hurdle for the poorer candidate.

Chris Russell, General Consultant for Guadagno’s primary opponent Jack Ciattarelli, was quick to seize on the polling results to press his candidate’s cause:

The LG obviously dissents from that opinion, telling Bergen’s GOP women over the weekend that she can ‘defy the odds’ and keep Drumthwacket Republican in 2017.

Guadagno was the only Republican candidate polled in Quinnipiac’s survey, the first of the cycle.