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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Garden State Quality Stays High

Monday, February 25, 2013

Only a slight drop-off in post-Sandy impact

In its regular tracking of residents' satisfaction with life in New Jersey, the Monmouth University Poll finds the current Garden State Quality of Life Index stands at +29.  This is down only slightly from the +30 score recorded in December and marks the third highest score in the more than two years Monmouth has been measuring this index.

A major factor in the index score is residents' overall rating of the state as a place to live.  Currently, more than 2-in-3 residents say New Jersey is either an excellent (18%) or good (50%) place to call home, compared to 3-in-10 who rate it as only fair (24%) or poor (7%).  This 68% positive rating is down by 4 points from the decade-high 72% recorded in December, just after Superstorm Sandy hit the state.

In terms of the overall index score, the slight statewide rating drop was offset by a 3-point increase in residents' opinion of their local schools, which now stands at 64% positive.  Other components of the index include positive ratings of one's town as a place to live (73%), local environment (71%), and neighborhood safety (63%).  These ratings are no more than one or two percentage points lower than the December poll results.

"While there has been a slight decline in New Jerseyans' feelings of goodwill about their home state, post-Sandy positivity is still well in evidence," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The Garden State Quality of Life Index score remained fairly steady for nearly every demographic group when compared to December's results.  There are only a couple of regional differences worth noting.  The index score among residents of the Route 1 Corridor has gone up by 9 points to +35, while the score among Central Hills residents has declined by 10 points to +37.  In prior polls, Central Hills residents consistently gave the highest ratings on New Jersey's quality of life.  This group is still numerically highest in the current poll at +37, but they are now closely followed by both Northern Shore (+36) and Route 1 Corridor (+35) residents.

The Garden State Quality of Life Index was created by the Monmouth University Polling Institute to serve as a resident-based indicator of the quality of life offered by the state of New Jersey.  The index is based on five separate poll questions:  overall opinion of the state as a place to live - which contributes half the index score - and ratings of one's hometown, the performance of local schools, the quality of the local environment, and feelings of safety in one's own neighborhood.  The index can potentially range from -100 to +100.

GARDEN STATE QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX  

 

NJ TOTAL  

GENDER  

AGE  

RACE  

INCOME  

Male

Female

18-34

35-54

55+

White

Black/ Hispanic

<$50K

$50-100K

>$100K

February 2013

+29  

+28

+30

+30

+27

+31

+36

+12

+20

+30

+36

December 2012

+30  

+31

+29

+30

+30

+30

+36

+14

+17

+33

+38

September 2012

+24  

+28

+20

+16

+21

+32

+30

+5

+10

+23

+37

July 2012

+27  

+26

+29

+21

+31

+30

+32

+16

+16

+31

+37

April 2012

+31  

+33

+28

+25

+30

+37

+36

+19

+24

+28

+42

February 2012

+25  

+20

+30

+25

+24

+26

+29

+13

+17

+23

+38

October 2011

+24  

+24

+24

+23

+21

+29

+31

+7

+15

+25

+31

August 2011

+22  

+25

+19

+27

+19

+21

+26

+9

+9

+22

+32

May 2011

+23  

+24

+22

+23

+22

+23

+26

+14

+15

+22

+32

December 2010

+21  

+20

+23

+23

+20

+23

+26

+13

+15

+21

+31

   


GARDEN STATE QUALITY OF LIFE INDEX  

 

REGION  

COMMUNITY TYPE  

North

east

Urban Core

Route 1 Corridor

Central Hills

Northern Shore

Delaware Valley

Garden Core

Urban

Stable Town

Growing

Suburb

February 2013

+31

+17

+35

+37

+36

+25

+23

+11

+33

+36

December 2012

+36

+18

+26

+47

+40

+21

+31

+9

+37

+37

September 2012

+29

+14

+17

+45

+33

+26

+13

-1

+27

+31

July 2012

+37

+12

+30

+37

+34

+22

+18

+8

+34

+34

April 2012

+38

+26

+27

+44

+34

+22

+28

+20

+35

+36

February 2012

+33

+17

+27

+35

+29

+19

+22

+11

+31

+29

October 2011

+31

+6

+22

+45

+35

+18

+23

-1

+31

+34

August 2011

+24

+16

+21

+38

+27

+26

+6

+4

+29

+25

May 2011

+28

+17

+16

+41

+29

+22

+20

+6

+29

+28

December 2010

+26

+15

+22

+38

+23

+14

+17

+12

+23

+27

 The latest Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from February 6 to February 10, 2013.  This sample has a margin of error of ±  3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

1.      Overall, how would you rate New Jersey as a place to live excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

2.      How would you rate your town or city as a place to live excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

[QUESTIONS 3, 4 AND 5 WERE ROTATED]

3.      How would you rate the quality of the environment in the area where you live – excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

4.      How would you rate the job your local schools are doing – excellent, good, only fair, or poor?

5.      How safe do you feel in your neighborhood at night – very safe, somewhat safe, or not at all safe?

 

[Note:  All trend results prior to 2005 come from Rutgers University’s Eagleton Poll.]

 

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from February 6 to 10, 2013 with a statewide random sample of 803 adult residents, including 603 contacted on a landline telephone and 200 on a cell phone.  Live interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, Inc. and the telephone sample was obtained from Survey Sampling International.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis.  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 3.5 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.

Region is defined by county boundaries:  Northeast (Bergen, Passaic), Urban Core (Essex, Hudson), Route 1 Corridor (Mercer, Middlesex, Union), Central Hills (Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset), Northern Shore (Monmouth, Ocean), Delaware Valley (Burlington, Camden, Gloucester), and Garden Core (Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Salem, Sussex, Warren).

It is the Monmouth University Polling Institute’s policy to conduct surveys of all adult New Jersey residents, including voters and non-voters, on issues that affect the state.  Specific voter surveys are conducted when appropriate during election cycles.

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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