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Still, along the Jersey Shore in Ocean County, where Mr. Trump won by nearly 30 points, it remains easy to find anti-mask yard signs that read “Free the Smiles.” And across the state some local board of education meetings have grown tense with parents opposed to mask wearing in schools clashing with officials who are required to enforce the state mandate.

In northern New Jersey, a Republican state senator, Holly Schepisi, said her office was fielding calls from parents “on both sides of the aisle” expressing concern about the new mask requirement for 2-year-olds, who have gone maskless in day care throughout the pandemic.

The executive order, which was issued last month, is impractical, she said.

“It’s hard enough to keep their shoe or their diaper on,” said Ms. Schepisi, who is a member of the Senate’s health committee and represents part of Bergen and Passaic Counties. “In addition to the question of ‘Why now?’ It was, ‘Where is this coming from?’”

Registered Democrats in New Jersey outnumber Republicans by nearly 1.1 million voters, giving Mr. Murphy a built-in advantage that several polls have shown Mr. Ciattarelli is struggling to overcome.

A report released Friday by the Covid States Project, a research and tracking effort by several universities, found that governors of states with prohibitions on vaccine mandates, including Arkansas, Arizona and Idaho, got the lowest approval ratings.

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