STATE – More than three quarters of New Jersey residents like the communities where they live, even though more than half think that the state has gotten worse in recent years. These results come from a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.
“New Jerseyans have a strong sense of liking their own communities even as they are less positive about the state as a whole,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers. “Nine years ago when we asked about the state’s direction, only 26 percent said New Jersey had become a worse place to live. But today 52 percent believe things have gone downhill in recent years. Still, these negative feelings about the state do not translate into dislike for the local communities in which people live.”
When asked to rate their own community as a place to live, 37 percent said it was excellent and 41 percent said it was good. Urban residents were most likely to have negative feelings about their communities, with 39 percent responding that their community was a fair or poor place to live.
Economic hard times, crime, lack of public services and taxes were cited as some of the reasons people disliked their communities.
When asked about the progress of the state over the last five to 10 years, 15 percent believed that New Jersey has become a better place to live. A clear majority – 52 percent – say that New Jersey has gotten worse, while 29 percent say that it has not really changed.
Fifty percent of New Jersey residents take a lot of pride in living in the state, while 19 percent take little or no pride in living in the Garden State.
“Garden Staters have a complicated relationship with their state,” said Redlawsk. “It almost seems a point of pride to complain about it. And clearly people feel things have gotten worse in the past decade. The positives are that New Jerseyans like their communities and retain significant pride in living in the state, and it is still the case that a slim majority feels positive about the state as a whole. Perhaps things will look better if and when the economy picks up.”
The poll of 906 New Jersey adults was conducted Dec. 2-6. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percentage points.
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