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Monmouth University Polling Institute

State Rating at Record Low

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Drop in Quality of Life Index tempered by solid local ratings

West Long Branch, N.J.  - In its regular tracking of residents' satisfaction with life in New Jersey, the Monmouth University Poll  finds that positive opinion of the state as a place to live stands at a 35-year low of 55%.  This has caused the overall Garden State Quality of Life Index to drop to +18.  The decline could have been greater if the index was not buoyed by stable ratings from residents for their local communities.

Currently, just over half of New Jerseyans say the state is either an excellent (12%) or good (43%) place to call home, while 30% rate it as only fair and 15% as poor.  This 55% positive rating is down from 63% just a few months ago.  It also marks an all-time low since this question has been asked in New Jersey opinion polls going back to 1980.  The prior bottom point was 57% in August 2011.

Monmouth's Garden State Quality of Life Index score now stands at +18, down from +23 in February.  Half of the index score comes from residents' overall rating of the state as a place to live.  The score would have declined more if not for the fact that local community evaluations comprising the other half of the index remained stable.  Specifically, positive evaluations of one's hometown as a place to live held steady at 71% compared to 72% in February.  Positive evaluations of local public schools stand at 60%, which is basically the same as the 61% positive rating recorded earlier this year.  Evaluations of local environmental quality have remained steady at 71% positive, compared to 72% in February.  Perceptions of personal safety have actually increased.  Currently, 67% of Garden State residents say they feel very safe in their own neighborhood at night, which is up from 62% who said the same in February.

"New Jerseyans still like their towns and their neighbors.  They're just having a hard time with the state as a whole," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The Garden State Quality of Life Index score dropped less among adults age 18 to 34 (+25 from +26) than it did among those age 35 to 54 (+11 from +18) and age 55 and older (+20 from +28).  It also declined more in urban areas (-2 from +11) than it did in stable towns (+28 from +30) and growing suburbs (+23 from +27).  Regionally, the Garden State Quality of Life Index dropped by 9 or 10 points in North Jersey, the Jersey Shore, and rural counties in the state.  It only dropped by 2 or 3 points in Central Jersey.  The index actually went up by 6 points in the Delaware Valley counties.

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

July 2015

+18

+18

+18

+25

+11

+20

+24

+5

n/a

n/a

n/a

February 2015

+23

+21

+26

+26

+18

+28

+29

+10

+13

+30

+31

September 2014

+18

+19

+17

+12

+20

+20

+23

+5

+13

+15

+30

April 2014

+25

+24

+25

+31

+20

+25

+27

+16

+17

+24

+33

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

North

east

Urban Core

Route 1 Corridor

Central Hills

Northern Shore

Delaware Valley

Garden Core

Urban

Stable Town

Growing

Suburb

July 2015

+21

+4

+22

+35

+22

+17

+10

-2

+28

+23

February 2015

+31

+13

+24

+38

+31

+11

+19

+11

+30

+27

September 2014

+23

+8

+12

+42

+27

+18

+4

+10

+22

+19

April 2014

+24

+10

+22

+43

+29

+25

+23

+4

+26

+33

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 Monmouth University Poll  was conducted by telephone with 503 New Jersey adults from June 30 to July 1, 2015.  The total sample has a margin of error of ±  4.4 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, N.J.

 

DATA TABLES

The questions referred to in this release are as follows:

(* Some rows may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

 

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

Excellent/
Good

Excellent Good Only
Fair
Poor (VOL)
Don't
know

(n)

July 2015 55% 12% 43% 30% 15% 0% (503)
May 2015 63% 13% 50% 27% 10% 1% (500)
Feb. 2015 63% 15% 48% 25% 11% 1% (805)
Sept.  2014 61% 13% 48% 25% 13% 1% (802)
June 2014 62% 15% 47% 26% 11% 0% (800)
April 2014 64% 15% 49% 26% 10% 0% (803)
Feb. 2014 63% 15% 48% 26% 11% 0% (803)
Dec. 2013 65% 20% 45% 26% 9% 0% (802)
Sept. 2013 65% 19% 46% 25% 10% 1% (783)
April 2013 61% 15% 46% 27% 11% 0% (806)
Feb. 2013 68% 18% 50% 24% 7% 1% (803)
Dec. 2012 72% 20% 52% 21% 5% 1% (816)
Sept. 2012 65% 15% 50% 23% 11% 0% (805)
July 2012 69% 17% 52% 23% 8% 0% (803)
April 2012 70% 20% 50% 23% 7% 0% (804)
Feb. 2012 62% 15% 47% 26% 11% 1% (803)
Oct. 2011 67% 15% 52% 24% 8% 0% (817)
Aug. 2011 57% 14% 43% 31% 11% 1% (802)
May 2011 59% 14% 45% 29% 11% 0% (807)
Dec. 2010 63% 17% 46% 26% 10% 1% (2864)
Oct. 2007 63% 17% 46% 25% 12% 1% (1001)
Aug. 2004 68% 22% 46% 21% 10% 1% (800)
May 2003 72% 20% 52% 23% 5% 0% (1002)
April 2001 76% 23% 53% 19% 4% 1% (802)
March 2000 76% 25% 51% 17% 6% 0% (800)
May 1999 76% 22% 54% 19% 5% 0% (800)
Feb. 1994 71% 18% 53% 22% 7% 0% (801)
March 1990 68% 21% 47% 25% 6% 1% (800)
Feb. 1988 78% 27% 51% 17% 4% 1% (800)
Feb. 1987 84% 31% 53% 11% 4% 0% (800)
May 1985 81% 29% 52% 14% 3% 1% (500)
Oct. 1984 80% 29% 51% 15% 4% 1% (1000)
Jan. 1981 66% 16% 50% 26% 7% 1% (1003)
July 1980 68% 18% 50% 23% 7% 2% (1005)

 

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

Excellent/
Good

Excellent Good Only Fair Poor (VOL)
Don’t
know

(n)

July 2015 71% 29% 42% 19% 10% 0% (503)
Feb. 2015 72% 29% 43% 21% 7% 0% (805)
Sept. 2014 69% 24% 45% 22% 10% 0% (802)
April 2014 71% 27% 44% 20% 9% 0% (803)
Feb. 2014 70% 31% 39% 23% 7% 0% (803)
Dec. 2013 70% 29% 41% 21% 8% 1% (802)
Sept. 2013 72% 32% 40% 18% 9% 1% (783)
April 2013 67% 29% 38% 25% 8% 0% (806)
Feb. 2013 73% 30% 43% 20% 7% 0% (803)
Dec. 2012 74% 32% 42% 17% 9% 0% (816)
Sept. 2012 72% 33% 39% 19% 9% 0% (805)
July 2012 74% 32% 42% 18% 7% 1% (803)
April 2012 76% 34% 42% 17% 7% 0% (804)
Feb. 2012 74% 33% 41% 21% 5% 0% (803)
Oct. 2011 73% 26% 47% 20% 8% 0% (817)
Aug. 2011 76% 28% 48% 18% 6% 0% (802)
May 2011 73% 33% 40% 20% 7% 0% (807)
Dec. 2010 73% 27% 46% 20% 8% 0% (2864)
May 2003 74% 29% 45% 19% 7% 0% (1002)
April 2001 73% 28% 45% 21% 6% 0% (802)
May 1995 70% 30% 40% 21% 8% 0% (802)
June 1994 72% 31% 41% 19% 9% 0% (801)
Sept. 1988 72% 26% 46% 18% 9% 1% (500)
Oct. 1984 71% 30% 41% 21% 7% 1% (999)
June 1980 67% 23% 44% 24% 9% 0% (1005)
May 1977 66% 25% 41% 24% 10% 0% (1005)

 

[QUESTIONS 3, 4 AND 5 WERE ROTATED]

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

Excellent/
Good

Excellent Good Only Fair Poor (VOL)
Don’t
know

(n)

July 2015 71% 27% 44% 20% 9% 0% (503)
Feb. 2015 72% 27% 45% 23% 4% 0% (805)
Sept. 2014 72% 24% 48% 21% 5% 1% (802)
April 2014 76% 27% 49% 18% 6% 0% (803)
Feb. 2014 73% 29% 44% 21% 6% 0% (803)
Dec. 2013 69% 27% 42% 24% 7% 0% (802)
Sept. 2013 75% 30% 45% 18% 7% 1% (783)
April 2013 70% 27% 43% 22% 7% 0% (806)
Feb. 2013 71% 26% 45% 24% 4% 2% (803)
Dec. 2012 73% 25% 48% 20% 7% 1% (816)
Sept. 2012 72% 30% 42% 20% 7% 0% (805)
July 2012 74% 30% 44% 19% 7% 1% (803)
April 2012 75% 30% 45% 18% 6% 1% (804)
Feb. 2012 77% 29% 48% 17% 5% 0% (803)
Oct. 2011 72% 25% 47% 19% 9% 0% (817)
Aug. 2011 79% 31% 48% 16% 5% 0% (802)
May 2011 79% 33% 46% 15% 6% 0% (807)
Dec. 2010 66% 14% 52% 25% 9% 0% (2864)
April 2001 70% 27% 43% 22% 7% 1% (402)
Sept. 1988 53% 10% 43% 31% 15% 1% (500)

 

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

Excellent/
Good

Excellent Good Only Fair Poor (VOL)
Don’t
know

(n)

July 2015 60% 27% 33% 22% 9% 8% (503)
Feb. 2015 61% 21% 40% 24% 8% 7% (805)
Sept. 2014 60% 21% 39% 24% 9% 7% (802)
April 2014 63% 24% 39% 22% 9% 6% (803)
Feb. 2014 61% 22% 39% 22% 10% 7% (803)
Dec. 2013 60% 20% 40% 23% 12% 5% (802)
Sept. 2013 62% 24% 38% 21% 7% 9% (783)
April 2013 59% 21% 38% 27% 9% 5% (806)
Feb. 2013 64% 24% 40% 20% 7% 9% (803)
Dec. 2012 61% 21% 40% 23% 7% 9% (816)
Sept. 2012 61% 27% 34% 21% 10% 8% (805)
July 2012 61% 22% 39% 20% 11% 8% (803)
April 2012 63% 23% 40% 21% 7% 8% (804)
Feb. 2012 68% 26% 42% 16% 8% 8% (803)
Oct. 2011 60% 21% 39% 20% 13% 7% (817)
Aug. 2011 63% 19% 44% 26% 6% 5% (802)
May 2011 63% 24% 39% 22% 10% 6% (807)
Dec. 2010 64% 24% 40% 23% 8% 5% (2864)
Aug. 2004 61% 24% 37% 17% 12% 9% (800)
April 2001 64% 21% 43% 21% 6% 9% (802)
Sept. 1999 62% 18% 44% 21% 9% 8% (802)
Sept. 1998 62% 20% 42% 23% 9% 7% (804)
Feb. 1996 60% 20% 40% 20% 11% 9% (804)
Sept. 1993 52% 16% 36% 29% 14% 5% (801)
Jan. 1992 53% 15% 38% 26% 15% 5% (800)
Oct. 1987 60% 14% 46% 23% 6% 11% (500)
Oct. 1986 55% 15% 40% 26% 10% 9% (800)
Oct. 1983 59% 16% 43% 23% 10% 8% (802)
May 1978 52% 12% 40% 25% 12% 11% (1003)

 

  1. How safe do you feel in your neighborhood at night – very safe, somewhat safe, or not at all safe?
TREND: Very
safe
Somewhat
safe
Not at
all safe
(VOL)
Don't
know

(n)

July 2015 67% 27% 6% 0% (503)
Feb. 2015 62% 33% 4% 0% (805)
Sept. 2014 58% 36% 6% 0% (802)
April 2014 66% 30% 4% 1% (803)
Feb. 2014 67% 28% 6% 0% (803)
Dec. 2013 60% 33% 7% 0% (802)
Sept. 2013 65% 27% 7% 1% (783)
April 2013 66% 28% 6% 0% (806)
Feb. 2013 63% 30% 6% 1% (803)
Dec. 2012 64% 29% 6% 1% (816)
Sept. 2012 65% 25% 6% 0% (805)
July 2012 60% 32% 7% 1% (803)
April 2012 64% 31% 5% 1% (804)
Feb. 2012 62% 32% 5% 0% (803)
Oct. 2011 62% 31% 7% 0% (817)
Aug. 2011 63% 31% 6% 0% (802)
May 2011 68% 27% 5% 0% (807)
Dec. 2010 59% 35% 6% 0% (2864)
Feb. 1993 42% 44% 13% 0% (801)
Oct. 1987 51% 36% 11% 2% (499)
Oct. 1984 53% 36% 9% 2% (500)
May 1981 43% 43% 13% 1% (497)

 

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

 

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from June 30 to July 1, 2015 with a statewide random sample of 503 adult residents, including 377 contacted via live interview on a landline telephone and 126 via live interview on a cell phone, in English.  Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey questionnaire design, data weighting and analysis.  Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information.  Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample).  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below).  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.

 

POLL DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

35% Dem 48% Male 28% 18-34

63% White

45% Ind 52% Female 38% 35-54

13% Black

20% Rep   34% 55+

15% Hispanic

     

      9% Asian/Other

 

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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