By The Monmouth University Polling Institute
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 +29.
That is down only slightly from the +30 score recorded in December and marks the third highest score in the more than two years Monmouth has been measuring this index.
A major factor in the index score is residents’ overall rating of the state as a place to live. Currently, more than 2-in-3 residents say New Jersey is either an excellent (18 percent) or good (50 percent) place to call home, compared to 3-in-10 who rate it as only fair (24 percent) or poor (7 percent). This 68 percent positive rating is down by 4 points from the decade-high 72 percent recorded in December, just after Super Storm Sandy hit the state.
In terms of the overall index score, the slight statewide rating drop was offset by a 3-point increase in residents’ opinion of their local schools, which now stands at 64 percent positive. Other components of the index include positive ratings of one’s town as a place to live (73 percent), local environment (71 percent) and neighborhood safety (63 percent). These ratings are no more than 1 or 2 percentage points lower than the December poll results.
“While there has been a slight decline in New Jerseyans’ feelings of goodwill about their home state, post-Sandy positivity is still well in evidence,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The Garden State Quality of Life Index score remained fairly steady for nearly every demographic group when compared to December’s results. There are only a couple of regional differences worth noting. The index score among residents of the Route 1 Corridor has gone up by 9 points to +35, while the score among Central Hills residents has declined by 10 points to +37. In prior polls, Central Hills residents consistently gave the highest ratings on New Jersey’s quality of life. This group is still numerically highest in the current poll at +37, but they are now closely followed by both Northern Shore (+36) and Route 1 Corridor (+35) residents.
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 New Jersey adults from Feb. 6-10. The statewide random sample was of 803 adult residents, 603 contacted on landline telephones and 200 on a cell phone.
Regions are 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).
The sample has a margin of error of +3.5 percent.
The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch.