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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Jersey Shore Favorites

Friday, May 26, 2006

New Jerseyans name their top towns and activities

Beach or Boardwalk?  When New Jerseyans trek down the shore this summer which pleasure do they will seek out - a day of sand and surf or an evening strolling the boards?  It seems that Garden Staters are split down the middle when it comes to their passion for these perennial summertime activities - 42% describe themselves as beach people compared to a nearly identical 41% who say the boardwalk is their bag.  Another 7% claim both shore amenities are equally important to them and the remaining 10% choose to head for the mountains when fair weather beckons.

The younger set - including New Jerseyans under the age of 30 and parents of young children - tend to be a little more beach  than boardwalk  in their shore preferences.  On the other hand, senior citizens are decidedly boardwalk folks.

When asked to pick their favorite shore town, New Jersey residents' choices are - quite literally - all over the map.  The top spots include the towns on Long Beach Island - generally known by its collective moniker "L.B.I."; the gambling mecca of Atlantic City; the inland waterway gateway of Point Pleasant Beach; the self-proclaimed "America's Greatest Family Resort" of Ocean City; and the wide beaches and honkytonk of Wildwood.  Each of these spots is selected as the favorite shore town by 8 to 10 percent of New Jerseyans.

Other Jersey Shore towns that are popular with home staters include Seaside Heights (7%), Cape May (6%) and Belmar (3%).  A number of other towns garnered a mention as a favored spot from 1 to 3 percent of residents.

Among North and Central Jersey residents, LBI just edges out Point Pleasant, Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, and Wildwood as the top town.  However, among South Jerseyans, Ocean City is clearly king of the shore towns.  Nearly 1-in-4 residents of the southern portion of the state name this island town as their favorite - more than double the number who name runners-up Atlantic City, LBI, Wildwood or Cape May.

One issue around the Jersey Shore where the state registers clear agreement is that beach tags have got to go.  Fully 7-in-10 residents (70%) say that beachgoers should not have to pay a fee in order to set foot on Garden State sands.  Only 1-in-4 (26%) find charges for beach access to be acceptable.

"The shore is universally acknowledged as one of New Jersey's greatest assets - one that most residents feel should be free to all," remarked Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

This poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute by telephone with 803 New Jersey adults from April 17 to 20, 2006.  This sample has a margin of error of ± 3.5 percent.  These poll results were featured in the June 2006 issue of New Jersey Monthly  magazine.

    The questions referred to in this release are as follows:  

1.         Thinking about the Jersey Shore, would you describe yourself more as a BEACH person or more as a BOARDWALK person?

2.         What is your favorite Jersey Shore town? 

3.         Do you think beachgoers should or should not have to pay a fee to use New Jersey beaches?

Results for this poll are based on telephone interviews conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute on April 17-20, 2006 with a statewide random sample of 803 adult residents.  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.

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 which 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