TRENTON — Hurricane Sandy devastated New Jersey, but it also may have made residents feel better about the state, according to a Monmouth University poll released this morning.
Seventy-two percent of the 816 resident surveyed said the state an excellent or good place to live — the highest since May 2003, when the number was also 72 percent.
The poll’s quality of life index — an average of residents' responses to five questions on how they feel about the state, their hometowns, the environment, schools and safety — has also increased in recent months. With the best possible rating at plus-100 and the worst at minus-100, New Jerseyans rated their state a plus-30 — up from plus-24 in September and nearly matching the record high of plus-31 in April.
“The jump in positive statewide satisfaction happened not in spite of Sandy, but more likely because of the storm,” said pollster Patrick Murray. “Poll results we released earlier this month show that New Jerseyans came out of the storm with more positive views of both the state’s institutions and their own neighbors. We now see this reflected in a more positive perception of the Garden State’s overall quality of life.”
Residents in the state’s hardest hit counties — Monnouth and Ocean — reported a seven-point increase in their quality of life rating, to plus-40 from plus-33 in September. But residents of counties left relatively unscathed by Sandy — Burlington, Camden and Gloucester — saw their quality of life indexes decline to plus-21, from plus-26 in September.
The poll was conducted from November 29 to December 2 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.