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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Love New Jersey Style

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Most couples satisfied with relationship, despite occasional secrets and flirting

Valentine's Day is upon us and the overwhelming majority of New Jerseyans involved in a romantic relationship are very satisfied with their current situation.  At the same time, 1-in-3 say they have kept secrets from their partner and a similar number report that they are prone to flirting with other people, at least on occasion.  The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll also found that about 1-in-5 New Jerseyans (18%) have spent the night on the couch because of a fight - including 23% of men and 12% of women.

According to the latest poll of state residents, about 7-in-10 New Jersey adults are currently married or in a romantic relationship.  The poll asked this group of Garden State lovebirds about their Valentine's Day plans and found that 42% will go out on the town for dinner or some other event while another 13% have scheduled a special celebration at home.  However, 38% will avoid Cupid's arrow and do nothing at all to mark the day.  Married folks (42%) are more likely than the unbetrothed (26%) to ignore the day entirely.  Interestingly, more men (61%) than women (49%) say they have actually made plans - so perhaps some women are in for a surprise today.

So how does love make the Garden State go round?  Well, more than one-third (35%) have kept secrets from their spouse or partner, but only 7% say that they have kept a "major" secret.  Also, 3-in-10 (29%) report flirting with other people, but only 5% say they do this often.  Flirting happens far less often among those bound by matrimony (21%) than it does among unmarried partners (52%).  Men (36%) are more likely than women (22%) to report flirting with someone other than their partner.

The poll also asked respondents whether their partner ever flirts with other people.  About 1-in-4 (24%) reports that this happens, but usually just occasionally.  By gender, 25% of men and 23% of women believe their partner flirts.  Compared to their own self-reports (36% for men and 22% for women), it appears that while men are fairly accurate about their partners' flirtatious behavior, women tend to underestimate their mate's wandering eye.

"It seems that some women don't know what their partners are up to, or perhaps men simply talk a big game when it comes to flirtation," commented Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Overall, 82% of New Jerseyans in a relationship say they are very satisfied with their current relationship, 13% are somewhat satisfied, and only 2% are dissatisfied.  Not surprisingly, those involved in relationships with very secretive or flirtatious behavior are less satisfied, although those with just minor secrets and occasional flirtations tend to be largely satisfied with their relationship.

Finally, the poll asked respondents whether they thought members of both sexes would have a one-night stand if the opportunity presented itself and  there was no fear of getting caught.  About 2-in-3 (68%) say that most men would jump at the chance while only 4-in-10 (40%) believe that most women would be so inclined. There is no gender difference in opinion on this question - in other words both men and women feel that the male of the species is more prone than the female to succumb to a one-night stand.

The Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll  was conducted by telephone with 801 New Jersey adults from February 8 to 12, 2007.  The findings in this release are based on a sub-sample of 590 residents who are currently in a romantic relationship.  These results have a ±  4 margin of error.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Gannett New Jersey newspaper group (Asbury Park Press, Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, Home News Tribune, and Ocean County Observer).

Poll Quick Fact: According to question results on gender of respondent and partner, approximately 4% of New Jersey couples (including married and unmarried) are homosexual. 

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

 V1.      Which of the following best describes you: married, living with a partner, never been married, widowed, divorced, or separated?

V2.       Will you and your partner do anything special to mark Valentine’s Day this year?  [Will you go out for dinner or some other event, or will you stay in to celebrate the day?]

V3.       How satisfied are you with your current relationship – very, somewhat, not too, or not at all satisfied?

V4.       Have you ever spent the night on the couch or away from home because of a fight with your partner?

V5.       Have you ever kept secrets from your partner?  [Were these major secrets or just minor ones?]

V6.       Do you ever flirt with other people?  [Do you do this a lot or just occasionally?]

V7.       Does your partner ever flirt with other people?  [Does this happen a lot or just occasionally?]

V7A.    When your partner flirts, does it bother you a lot, a little, or not at all?

V8A.    In general, do you think most MEN would or would not have a one night stand if the opportunity presented itself AND there was no fear of getting caught?

V8B.    In general, do you think most WOMEN would or would not have a one night stand if the opportunity presented itself AND there was no fear of getting caught?

Results for this Monmouth University/Gannett NJ Poll are based on telephone interviews conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute on February, 8-12, 2007 with a statewide random sample of 590 adult residents currently involved in a relationship.  For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.  Sampling error increases as the sample size decreases, so statements based on various population subgroups, such as separate figures reported by gender or party identification, are subject to more error than are statements based on the total sample. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups. 

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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