New Jerseyans’ Views of the Garden State Hit Record Low

A Monmouth poll found 54 percent of New Jerseyans think their state is either an excellent (15 percent) or good (39 percent) place to live.

Welcome to New Jersey sign.
Welcome to New Jersey sign. Thomas Seymour on Flickr

New Jerseyans’ views on living in the Garden State have hit a new low, according to a recent poll.

A Monmouth University poll released on Tuesday found that 54 percent of New Jersey residents think their state is either an excellent (15 percent) or good (39 percent) place to call home. Twenty-nine percent rate living in their state as fair, and 17 percent called it a poor place to live.

The 54 percent positive rating is similar to the July 2015 result of 55 percent and the August 2011 result of 57 percent. But the latest rating marks a record-low since residents were first polled on this in 1980.

The record-high rating for New Jersey was 84 percent in February 1987.

The top concern on the minds of New Jerseyans is the perennial issue of property taxes, with 45 percent calling it one of the most important issues facing the state. Property taxes have been the most common response to this question for most of the last decade.

“Unless you’ve had your head in the sand for the past 10 years, you know that New Jersey’s onerous property tax burden is the single most cited reason for what ails the state,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said in a statement. “Trenton lawmakers have avoided tackling this problem for too long, and we now see it eroding satisfaction with life in the Garden State as a whole. Given these results, it’s no surprise that more and more New Jerseyans are choosing to vote with their feet by simply moving out of the state.”

After property taxes, the most pressing issues facing New Jerseyans are education (16 percent), jobs (14 percent), the economy and cost of living (14 percent), transportation infrastructure (14 percent) and crime, guns and drugs (12 percent), according to the poll.

Monmouth’s Quality of Life Index, which combines how residents rate the state and the quality of life in their local communities, is +18. That’s down from +25 in July 2017 and matches prior lows of +18 in July 2015 and September 2014. Over the past eight years, this index has ranged from the current low of +18 to a high of +31 in April 2012.

Slightly more than seven-in-10 New Jerseyans say living in their town or city is excellent (30 percent) or good (41 percent), while 20 percent rate it as fair and nine percent as poor.

“Even though New Jerseyans are starting to sour on the state as whole, views of their local communities remain more positive. This sentiment may help to keep people here for the time being, but it doesn’t overcome the more fundamental statewide problems,” Murray said.

The poll of 703 New Jersey adults was conducted from April 6 to April 10. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

New Jerseyans’ Views of the Garden State Hit Record Low