More New Jerseyans get their state news on political and public affairs from television than from any other source, though they think their in-state newspapers do a good job covering the state.
A Monmouth University/Gannett poll released this morning shows that 41% of state residents get most of their information from television. Another 28% get most of their information from newspapers, while 19% mainly use internet news sources and 6% most often listen to the radio.
But New Jerseyans read newspapers about as much as they watch television news broadcasts out of New York and Philadelphia. While 43% watch television news nearly every day, 42% read a newspaper regularly, 32% visit Web sites about every day and 22% listen to talk radio.
Of New Jersey residents who read the paper, 42% open it mainly for local community news, while 30% read it for national news and just 15% for state news.
"Like most Americans, New Jerseyans have become accustomed to turning on the television for news updates. However, the focus of TV coverage tends to be national or the city where those media outlets are located, while newspapers are favored for their local news coverage. Since we lack a home-grown broadcast media market, this leaves a gap for state-level news exposure in New Jersey," said Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray.
New Jerseyans give high marks to their in-state newspapers for state news: 59% consider their coverage of local issues excellent or good, while 27% give them a fair or poor rating. Similarly, they like their local cable and radio news states: in-state cable channels get a 59% positive rating, with only 23% negative, while in-state news radio stations get a 45% positive to 25% negative rating for how they cover the state.
New York City and Philadelphia-based news outlets do not fare as well, however. Out-of-state newspapers 27% positive to 38% negative ratings on how they cover New Jersey, while television affiliates in those cities get 34% positive to 45% negative ratings, and out-of-state radio stations eget 29% positive to 42% negative ratings.
"Newspaper readers in New Jersey appear to be more demanding of New York and Philadelphia media outlets when it comes to coverage of their home state than are those who rely mainly on television for Garden State news," said Murray.
The most faithful state-based newspaper reading region is the shore counties, according to the poll, with three-quarters of those residents reading a New Jersey paper every day. The biggest television watchers reside in the state's northeastern urban core – 54% of whom watch the New York-based affiliates – and the Delaware Valley, another 54% of whom watch the Philadelphia stations.
When it comes to political Web sites, 25% of state residents have checked one in the past year – up from 19% four years ago.
The most listened to radio station is New Jersey 101.5 FM, followed by WABC 770. By a two-to-one margin (as of September, when the poll was taken), listeners of 101.5 FM – which has a programming schedule heavy with political commentary — preferred Governor-elect Chris Christie to Gov. Jon Corzine.
More than twice as many state residents – 69% to 30% — can name New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg than can name Newark Mayor Cory Booker. But only 13% of state residents can name Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (63% in the Delaware Valley and 42% in the Southern Shore areas can, while Nutter is practically unknown in other regions of the state).
The poll found that those who read in-state newspapers in the northern part of the state are more able to name Booker. Of weekly New Jersey newspaper readers, 36% can name Booker, compared to 20% who do not read local papers.
"These results raise a good question. Does a newspapers reader's better ability to name Mayor Booker extend to other areas of knowledge about New Jersey politics and public affairs? These findings are merely suggestive, but they illustrate the role different types of media play in informing the citizenry," said Murray.
Monmouth surveyed 903 New Jersey adults betweenSeptember 24 to 29, 2009, producing a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3%.