Poll: NJ residents share worsening views toward safety, schools
The latest Monmouth University Poll findings show that a majority of adults still give rather positive ratings to New Jersey as a place to live in late 2023, but there are worsening views among residents toward safety and their local schools.
Out of a potential range of -100 to +100, the latest Garden State Quality of Life Index from Monmouth stands at +23. It was +24 in January, and +27 in April 2022.
The current reading is around the midpoint since the index began, despite seeing significant partisan shifts since the last index in January of this year.
The overall index fell nine points among Republicans, to a score of +5, compared to earlier this year. At the same time, Democrats registered an 11-point jump.
"As with everything in society today, how people view what's going on in their own backyards seems to be filtered through a partisan lens," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.
The political divide, Murray said, appears to be the product of individuals' views on national issues trickling down to their views on local-level items such as schools and safety.
The index, created by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in 2010, is based on five poll questions: overall opinion of New Jersey as a place to live, the rating of one's hometown, the performance of local schools, the quality of the local environment, and feeling of safety in one's neighborhood.
In the current index, which relates to questions asked in August, 56% of respondents said their local schools are doing a good or excellent job. That score hadn't dipped below 60% since February 2019.
Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they feel very safe in their neighborhood at night, compared to 64% in January. That score last hit below 60% in September 2014.
Down seven points from earlier this year, 77% of adults said they would rate their own town as a good or excellent place to live.
More than six in 10 respondents said New Jersey as a whole is an excellent or good place to live, similar to what was recorded in January of this year and April 2022.