Residents of the Garden State think New Jersey is sliding downhill, are divided about whether the state is a good place to live, yet have a very favorable opinion of their own communities. And when it comes to Jersey pride, half of the state’s residents say they have a lot of it and 30 percent say they have some of it. Those findings come courtesy of the most recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll of 906 residents conducted earlier this month.
When asked to think back over the past five or ten years, 52 percent of those polled said New Jersey has become a worse place to live, while 15 percent said it’s gotten better and 29 percent said there has been no change. The last time the poll asked this question was in 2001, when only 26 percent of respondents said the state had gotten worse and 29 percent said it was better.
As to whether New Jersey is a good place to live, 53 percent rate it good or excellent -- a number that’s been steadily dropping since 2001, when it was 76 percent. But when asked about their own communities rather than the state as a whole, 78 percent rated them as good or excellent.
In general, Republicans tended to rate their communities excellent (43 percent), while the rest of the state as only fair or poor (54 percent). Democrats, in contrast, are more positive about the state (57 percent say good or excellent) and have a lot of Jersey pride (59 percent). Those that live on the Jersey shore are the proudest of the state (57 percent); the counties surrounding or south of Philadelphia were also proud of New Jersey.
Most residents, regardless of age, race, location, and party affiliation cited "the people" and safety as the chief reasons for their communities' quality of life.