New Jersey Pollster Says He ‘Blew It’ After Tight Governor’s Race

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
November 5, 2021 Updated: November 5, 2021

Monmouth University Poll’s top pollster said Thursday the outfit messed up in projecting New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy would handily beat Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli.

“I blew it,” Patrick Murray, the director of the polling group, wrote in a blog post.

The last poll done before the Nov. 2 gubernatorial election had Murphy, a Democrat, ahead by 11 percentage points. Earlier polls from Monmouth had Murphy up by as much as 16 percent.

The final poll “did not provide an accurate picture of the state of the governor’s race,” Murray said.

“So, if you are a Republican who believes the polls cost Ciattarelli an upset victory or a Democrat who feels we lulled your base into complacency, feel free to vent. I hear you,” he added.

Murray apologized to both campaigns, noting that inaccurate polling can impact fundraising and voter mobilization efforts. He also offered an apology to voters.

The information from Monmouth “was at the very least misleading,” he wrote.

Monmouth may exit election polls altogether, he said. Other outfits, including Gallup Poll, have stopped conducting those types of surveys in recent years.

“Most public pollsters are committed to making sure our profession counters rather than deepens the pervasive cynicism in our society. We try to hold up a mirror that accurately shows us who we are. If election polling only serves to feed that cynicism, then it may be time to rethink the value of issuing horse race poll numbers as the electorate prepares to vote,” Murray said.

Murphy claimed victory early Wednesday after some outlets projected he won, but with tens of thousands of votes still needing to be counted, Ciattarelli has not conceded yet.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.