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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Garden State Quality of Life Holds Steady

Monday, March 10, 2014

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 +23.  This latest reading is slightly lower than the +24 index score in December and +26 in September.  It is higher than the +21 dip recorded last spring, after topping out at +30 in the feel-good aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.  The current index score marks a return to New Jerseyans' quality of life perceptions three years ago.

A major factor is residents' overall rating of the state as a place to live.  Currently, nearly 2-in-3 say New Jersey is either an excellent (15%) or good (48%) place to call home, compared to just over 1-in-3 who rate it as only fair (26%) or poor (11%).  This 63% positive rating is down by a statistically insignificant two points from December.

Most local evaluations have held basically steady.  Specifically, 70% of New Jerseyans currently rate their town or city positively, which is identical to December.  Also, 61% of New Jerseyans give positive marks to their local schools, which is up by just a single point since December.  Opinions of local environmental quality have increased by 4 points to a 73% positive rating.

One area of the Garden State Quality of Life Index that has seen a significant increase over the past month is safety.  Two-thirds (67%) of New Jerseyans give positive ratings to neighborhood safety, which is up 7 points since December but is similar to prior polls last year.

"Our quality of life index saw a big drop in April after a period of goodwill in Sandy's immediate aftermath.  Since then we have seen a more stable middle of the road score in New Jersey residents' perceptions of life in the Garden State," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The underlying demographic dynamics of the Garden State Quality of Life Index score have remained stable.  Residents of the Central Hills (+37) region score the highest while urban residents (+6) score the lowest.  New Jersey adults under the age of 35 (+23) or age 55 and over (+26) tend to score slightly higher than those between the ages of 35 and 54 (+21).

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 2014

+23

+28

+18

+23

+21

+26

+27

+11

+8

+23

+35

December 2013

+24

+25

+23

+24

+21

+27

+29

+10

+10

+24

+35

September 2013

+26

+26

+26

+27

+23

+30

+33

+10

+17

+25

+42

April 2013

+21

+19

+24

+19

+19

+27

+29

+3

+12

+19

+35

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

Northeast

Urban Core

Route 1 Corridor

Central Hills

Northern Shore

Delaware Valley

Garden Core

Urban

Stable Town

Growing Suburb

February 2014

+27

+16

+20

+37

+30

+14

+16

+6

+28

+28

December 2013

+31

+15

+26

+40

+25

+14

+17

+5

+29

+30

September 2013

+27

+8

+21

+52

+33

+27

+19

+1

+34

+32

April 2013

+31

+4

+19

+38

+22

+21

+21

-3

+30

+27

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 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.

The latest Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from February 19 to 23, 2014.  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 19 to 23, 2014 with a statewide random sample of 803 adult residents, including 603 via live interview on a landline telephone and 200 via live interview on a cell phone.  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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- Monmouth University Polling Institute