Hurricane Sandy had an immediate impact on almost all New Jerseyans, with the majority of the state’s residents (65 percent) reporting that they lost power for more than five days, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll. Indeed, 94 percent of the state’s residents said they lost power for at least some time in the storm’s aftermath.
Of those that said they were affected, 21 percent said they were forced to leave their homes; 6 percent said they have yet to return permanently; and 29 percent said they sustained damage to their homes. Those living at the shore (76 percent) and exurban communities (79 percent) were the largest groups who said they were personally affected by the storm, but only those living near Philadelphia in South Jersey had a minority (25 percent) saying they were unaffected.
Residents were also asked how they thought their electric company, FEMA, and the Red Cross handled the storm. Atlantic City Power and Light got the highest marks of the three major power companies, with 66 percent saying “very well” and 28 percent saying “somewhat well.” PSEG followed with 42 percent saying “very well” and 34 percent saying “somewhat well,” but 21 percent saying somewhat or very poorly. Trailing was JCP&L, with 29 percent giving kudos and 35 percent saying “somewhat well.” However, 35 percent said JCP&L performed “somewhat” or “very poorly”.
FEMA was given good marks, even by those with house damage or forced to evacuate. About 68 percent of all adults said FEMA performed “very well” or “somewhat well,” with 18 percent saying they did not know. Those with damage gave the federal agency even higher grades. The Red Cross was given even better grades, with a whopping 77 percent saying the agency performed “very well” or “somewhat well.”