Yet along the New Jersey coast in Ocean County, where Mr. Trump won by nearly 30 points, it is still easy to find anti-mask signs that read “Free the Smiles.” And statewide, some local education council meetings have become tense with parents opposed to wearing masks in schools clashing with officials who are required to uphold the state’s mandate.
In northern New Jersey, Republican state senator Holly Schepisi said her office was responding to calls from parents “on both sides of the aisle” expressing concern over the new mask requirement for children of. 2 years old, who went maskless in daycare throughout the pandemic.
The decree, which was released last month, is impractical, she said.
“It’s hard enough to keep their shoes on or their diaper on,” said Schepisi, who is a member of the Senate health committee and represents part of Bergen and Passaic counties. “In addition to the question ‘Why now?’ It was, ‘Where did it come from?’ “
Democrats registered in New Jersey outnumber Republicans by nearly 1.1 million voters, giving Mr. Murphy an inherent advantage that several polls have shown Mr. Ciattarelli is struggling to overcome.
A report released Friday by the Covid States Project, a research and monitoring effort of several universities, found that governors of states that have banned vaccination warrants, including Arkansas, Arizona and Idaho, have obtained the lowest approval ratings. Nationally, support for governors’ pandemic policies has waned since June, but Murphy’s initiatives have remained popular with 60% of respondents, said David Lazer, professor of political science at Northeastern University and one of the project researchers.