Who is New Jersey’s most beloved governor? Which governor is considered the worst in recent history?

Garden State residents have some very strong opinions about these questions

Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, says a new survey finds when we look at the last 10 New Jersey governors, Tom Kean stands out as the most admires. About 45 percent of residents view him favorable.

“Nearly 30 years after leaving office there’s no question that New Jersey and Tom Kean are still perfect together," Murray said, referring to the Jersey motto Kean promoted in commercials during his tenure.

Murray said coming in second place is the late Brendan Byrne, a Democrat who died earlier this year.

“Kean and Byrne are the only two governors that we polled about who get positive ratings from Democrats, Republicans and independents alike," Murray said.

At the bottom of the pack is Chris Christie, who was term-limited out of office. Christie has a 71 percent unfavorable rating in the survey.

He noted every single group — Democrats, Republicans, men and women — all have a negative view of Christie.

Rounding out the least favorable governors in New Jersey, Jon Corzine comes in second to Chris Christie and Jim McGreevey comes in as third worst.

Murray said the poll also finds Gov. Phil Murphy ranks high up on the list as one of the most admired governors to hold office.

Murray, however, pointed out that Christie was the third-most admired governor eight years ago.

After Kean, Byrne and Murphy, state Sen. Richard Codey, a Democrat who served 14 months after McGreevey’s resignation, is fourth most admired governor.

Republican Christie Whitman comes in fifth with an even net rating. Democrat Jim Florio follows with a negative 3-point rating, Donald DiFrancesco, a Republican who served four months after Whitman left office to become EPA administrator, has a  negative 4-point rating.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone between April 6 and 10 among 703 adults. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points.

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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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