RUTGERS-EAGLETON POLL FINDS NEW JERSEYANS
ARE A BIT APPREHENSIVE ABOUT THE FUTURE
New Jerseyans worry more about health insurance, income gap
and personal finances than decade ago
The poll was conducted Nov. 6-10 and has a margin of error of +/-3.3 percentage points for the full sample and +/- 4.6 percentage points for subsamples of about 450 respondents.
New Jerseyans’ outlook about living in the state the next 10 years is mixed: only 35 percent think conditions will get better, 41 percent say they will stay the same, and 19 percent think they will get worse. Following Gov.-elect Chris Christie’s victory, 43 percent of Republicans are more optimistic about the state’s future; 32 percent of Democrats and 34 percent of independents have positive outlooks. In 1999, New Jerseyans had similar feelings about the coming decade when 38 percent thought things would be better, while 27 percent thought they would worsen.
“New Jerseyans are simply unsure about how good a place to live the state will be in 10 years,” said
Some Optimism About the Overall Economy and Pessimism About Specifics
Other economic concerns include health care and the gap between the wealthy and the poor. Almost half (45 percent) of New Jerseyans believe health care will be less affordable, and two-thirds (65 percent) think the gap between the rich and poor will grow.
Men are more optimistic about the future of the economy than are women by a 69 percent to 56 percent margin, and when asked about the future of affordable health care in the state, those earning $50,000 to $75,000 annually were the least optimistic, with only 29 percent believing affordability would improve.
A decade ago, 68 percent thought economic conditions would improve, and 57 percent believed
Race Relations and Conditions in the Cities
Residents believe that race relations will improve over the next 10 years, with 58 percent optimistic (compared to 52 percent in 1999) and only 19 percent pessimistic. Democrats (61 percent) and independents (58 percent) are more optimistic than Republicans (53 percent). Latinos (63 percent) are more hopeful than whites (61 percent) and blacks (46 percent).
New Jerseyans are mixed on conditions in the state’s cities, with 40 percent saying they will worsen and 39 percent saying they will improve. The respective figures were 39 percent and 44 percent in 1999. Latino respondents (59 percent) are the most positive, and whites (32 percent) the most negative. Blacks (44 percent) fall in between.
New Jerseyans More Pessimistic About Personal Situation
New Jerseyans are more pessimistic about their own situations than they were a decade ago. Just about half anticipate their job situations and incomes will improve, compared to 58 percent and 65 percent, respectively, in 1999. At 18 percent, more than three times as many current respondents expect their incomes to worsen in the coming decade than in the earlier group.
New Jerseyans also have mixed feelings about prospects for their own health care. Only 34 percent of all respondents expect their access to good-quality health care to improve, while 36 percent said they expect it to stay the same, and 25 percent expect decreased health care availability and quality. Almost two-thirds of younger respondents (ages 18 to 34) are worried “a lot” about availability, compared to just over 50 percent of older residents. Overall, concerns are up substantially since the earlier poll, when 43 percent of all respondents said they worried “a lot” about health care, compared to 56 percent today.
Age also is a factor in optimistic or pessimistic outlooks, and younger respondents tend to be more upbeat, Redlawsk noted. About 74 percent of those aged 18-34 anticipate improvement in their jobs and 69 percent expect better incomes. Though they worry about health care quality and availability, only 24 percent expect it to be worse in the future.
Despite their concerns about
New Jerseyans Worry, Worry, Worry
Although New Jerseyans are fairly optimistic about their personal futures, they continue to worry – 46 percent worry “a lot,” about having enough money to live comfortably, 55 percent worry about health care and 50 percent worry about sufficient retirement funds. Women are more negative about their personal futures in terms of having sufficient money to live comfortably, retire and retain access to good-quality health care.
Overall, New Jerseyans worry more now about their future than they did in 1999. Today, 46 percent worry “a lot” about whether they will have enough money to live comfortably, compared to only 27 percent a decade ago. Insecurity about retirement is also greater in 2009. New Jerseyans are 22 points more likely to say they worry “a lot” about having enough money for retirement now than 10 years ago, 55 percent to 33 percent.
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Contact: Steve Manas
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