Poll: Quality of life good in N.J., but people want to leave due to costs and taxes

Beachgoers are pictured at Island Beach State Park

This May 19, 2021 photo shows beachgoers on the sand at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. (AP Photo/Wayne Parry)

New Jerseyans in a new Monmouth University Poll say the quality of life is good in the Garden State. That same poll also indicates that more people are looking for the exit, especially if they are Republican.

According to the poll, about two in three New Jerseyans say the state is either an excellent or good place to live. The Garden State Quality of Life Index, created by Monmouth’s Polling Institute, is on the higher end of the scale, +27. The range is from -100 to +100.

Despite the positive outlook, 59% of those polled said they would like to move out of the state at some point. More than two-thirds of registered Republicans, and about as many independent voters said they would like to leave citing high property taxes and the cost of living in general.

Monmouth pollster Patrick Murray said that the partisan divide is something that is fairly new compared to past results.

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“There hasn’t been a huge difference between Democrats and Republicans saying that they want to leave the state,” he said. “This time around, we do see a partisan gap as the state has become significantly bluer, certainly, and as the national political environment has changed as well.”

At the same time, Murray adds, people are willing to pay for the state’s high cost of living and taxes if they have kids because they have a positive view of their child’s school; a staple of polling in New Jersey going back to the 1970s.

“How do you pay for [schools]; through your property taxes,” he said.

“When people tell us why they might want to leave at some point in their life, they point to property taxes, which suggest that while they’re using the schools, they will bite the bullet and pay their property taxes. But when they’re not using the schools anymore, that’s a reason to get out of here.”

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