The director of Monmouth University Polling Institute apologized to New Jersey voters on Thursday after inaccurately predicting that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy would easily defeat GOP challenger Jack Ciattarelli in Tuesday’s election.

Murphy was in the lead by just 44,000 votes, or 1.8 percentage points, on Thursday evening, a much narrower lead than the 11-point margin that Monmouth gave Murphy in its last poll on Oct. 27.

“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,” Patrick Murray, the director of Monmouth University Polling Institute, wrote in an op-ed for NJ.com on Thursday.

“I owe an apology to Jack Ciattarelli’s campaign and to Phil Murphy’s campaign for that matter  because inaccurate public polling can have an impact on fundraising and voter mobilization efforts,” he wrote. “But most of all I owe an apology to the voters of New Jersey for information that was at the very least misleading.”

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