Monmouth Poll: views on Sandy recovery effort unchanged

As New Jersey marks the second anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, the latest Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll finds that Garden State residents’ opinions on some aspects of the recovery have improved slightly while others remained unchanged.  At the same time, fewer than half of state residents are confident that the state can prepare for another storm of Sandy’s magnitude.

Currently, a majority (54%) of New Jersey residents are satisfied with the state’s Sandy recovery effort to date, while 35% are dissatisfied.  This result marks an improvement from the 48% satisfied to 43% dissatisfied result recorded back in April and is similar to the 55% satisfied to 39% dissatisfied result in February.  All of these results, though, are lower than polls taken in the first year after the storm hit the state, when more than 7-in-10 New Jerseyans were satisfied with the recovery effort.

In terms of how the state is handling recovery funds, 51% are confident that these funds are being spent wisely and 42% are not confident.  This result is almost identical to the April poll result of 51% confident to 45% not confident.  During the first year following the storm, at least 6-in-10 expressed confidence that recovery funds were being spent wisely.

In New Jersey communities that were hardest hit by the storm, 51% of residents are satisfied with the recovery effort and 46% are confident that the funds are being spent wisely.  In other parts of the state, 54% are satisfied and 52% are confident.   It is worth noting that Monmouth University also conducted a separate study of New Jerseyans who were most impacted by the storm.  While those results are based on a non-probability sample of people with significant damage to their homes, the findings released yesterday showed that far fewer (33%) of these hardest-hit New Jerseyans are satisfied with the state’s recovery efforts.

Opinion on the recovery is most divided among those who know someone who was displaced from their home for at least a month as a result of Sandy.  Among those who know a Sandy victim, 47% are satisfied and 47% are dissatisfied with the recovery effort while 46% are confident and 48% are not confident that recovery funds are being used wisely.

When it comes to the state’s efforts specifically to assist New Jersey residents who still need to repair their homes, 41% say the state has done a good job compared to 45% who say it has done a bad job.  This result has changed little from a poll that was taken just six months after the storm, when 43% said the state was doing a good job helping residents who needed to repair their homes and 47% said it was doing a bad job.

“Two years after the storm, not a lot has changed.  A majority of New Jersey residents are positive about the recovery effort, but the fact that we still have much to do to get people back in their homes tempers those positive feelings.  It also makes us wonder whether we can handle the next storm,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

When asked whether they feel New Jersey is prepared to deal with another storm like Sandy, just 11% of residents say the state is very prepared, while 53% feel the state is somewhat prepared.  Another 18% say the state is not too prepared and 13% say the state is not at all prepared.

When asked whether it is even possible to be very prepared for this type of storm, 42% say yes and 38% say it is not possible.  New Jerseyans who live along the Route 1 corridor (48%) and in the Northwest portion (47%) of the state are the most optimistic about the ability to prepare, followed by those living in the Shore counties (42%).  Residents in the Northeast (37%) and Southwest (34%) regions of the state are less likely to feel it is possible to be very prepared for this type of storm.

The poll also asked Garden State residents about recovery efforts specifically around Jersey Shore tourism.  The results show that some residents feel that the recovery has slowed compared to last year.  Specifically, 43% of New Jerseyans say the Jersey Shore tourism industry has recovered at about the pace they expected, 14% say it has recovered faster than expected and 31% say it has been slower than expected.  A poll taken after last year’s summer season found that 49% said the Shore tourism industry was recovering at about the pace they expected, 20% said it was recovering faster than expected and 23% said it had been slower than expected

Nearly half of New Jerseyans say they visited the Jersey Shore this past summer, including 21% who had an overnight stay and 26% who took day trips.  Another 8% report that they live down the shore.  About 1-in-10 (9%) New Jerseyans report that they spent more time down the shore this past summer than they typically do, 38% spent less time, and 41% spent about the same amount of time as they usually do down the shore.  These results for the 2014 summer season are similar to a poll taken one year ago.

The Monmouth University/Asbury Park Press Poll was conducted by telephone with 802 New Jersey adults from September 17 to 21, 2014.  This sample has a margin of error of + 3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute and originally published by the Asbury Park Press and its sister publications (Courier-Post, Courier News, Daily Journal, Daily Record, and Home News Tribune).  The Monmouth University Polling Institute has produced the most extensive set of polling data on Sandy’s impact on New Jersey, including seven statewide polls, one survey of coastal residents and four poll releases from a panel of residents who suffered significant damage from the storm.  All the polls can be found at: Monmouth Poll: views on Sandy recovery effort unchanged