Love for Gov. Phil Murphy has dwindled since the fall, but New Jersey adults overall still have a favorable impression of the first-term governor and the job he's done so far.

According to Rutgers-Eagleton Poll results released on Monday, Murphy gets his highest marks from residents on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Murphy's overall favorability rating is at 47% among New Jersey adults, the poll finds. That's down from 54% in October and 59% last May. Thirty-six percent of respondents have an unfavorable impression of the governor (up from 28% in the fall).

In a separate poll question, 55% of New Jerseyans said they approve of the job Murphy is doing (down from 62%), and 40% said they disapprove.

"The 'rally around the flag' effect the pandemic has had on Governor Murphy's ratings in the past year is inevitably coming to an end," said poll director Ashley Koning. "But the Governor still garners the kind of ratings most politicians envy, especially in a reelection year and during an increasingly polarizing crisis and recovery process."

When asked to grade Murphy on his first term, Garden Staters delivered responses that average out to a 'C' grade. Just 15% gave him an 'A,' while 19% gave him an 'F.'

Up a few points from the fall, 31% of respondents give Murphy an 'A' for the way he's handled the COVID-19 crisis so far. Murphy gets his lowest marks for his handling of taxes — just 7% of respondents give him an 'A.'

Despite the lingering pandemic, more than half of New Jerseyans (52%) say the state is headed in the right direction. Forty-one percent say it's going the wrong way.

"New Jerseyans' outlook on the state has improved over the last few years," Koning said. "These numbers were practically flipped back in 2019, when 44% of residents thought New Jersey was going in the right direction and 56% thought it was off on the wrong track."

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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