State residents rate Sandy recovery in Eagleton poll
On Oct. 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey, causing nearly $30 billion in damages and forcing several years of work recovering.
Three years after Superstorm Sandy crashed onto the Jersey Shore, residents are more positive about the state’s level of recovery while recognizing the number of people still affected by the storm, said Ashley Koning, assistant director for the Center of Public Interest Polling at the Eagleton Institute of Politics in a press release.
“Residents know the state has not completely returned to its pre-Sandy days,” she said. “(They) are very aware of those geographic areas and individuals who continue to need help the most — the Shore and homeowners who suffered storm damage.”
The Eagleton Institute polled nearly 1,000 people from New Jersey, asking them to rate the state's recovery overall and what they thought of specific aspects, including tourism and homeownership.
The poll questions were asked in English or Spanish via phone, and respondents provided their political and economic backgrounds, as well as their age and gender.
In general, people in New Jersey think the state is recuperating well, rating its recovery at 7.1 out of 10.
On this scale, a 10 means the respondent thinks the state is “fully recovered,” according to the press release. A rating of "1" indicates that the state is “not at all recovered.”
A little more than half of the 935 residents interviewed believe the state is not fully recovered, while 37 percent believe the state has returned to normal, or is as it was before the storm arrived.
Nearly 70 percent of respondents said the state was not back to normal the last time this poll was asked in April 2014, and 26 percent said it was, according to the press release. Both numbers have shifted toward a positive interpretation of New Jersey’s recovery.
While citizens think the state in general has a way to go before fully recovering, they said business is doing much better than last year. On the 10-point scale, business recovery was rated 6.9, while last year it stood at 5.9.
The tourism industry received one of the strongest ratings, with most respondents saying it is largely recovered. Its 7.1 rating also shows a significant jump from the 5.9 it had previously.
The state’s tourism industry was expected to lose $1.2 billion, which would force 11,000 jobs to be lost, according to the Economics and Statistics Administration.
Despite the hurricane’s impact, more people visited New Jersey in 2013 than in the previous year, according to visitnj.org, the state’s official tourism website.
This trend continued in 2014, with both the number of visitors and the revenue generated increasing.
Though the tourism industry is booming, residential areas still have a ways to go, according to the Eagleton poll.
While the actual shore averaged a 5.8 recovery score, homes only saw a 5.3 this year.
Jersey Shore residents who were directly impacted by Sandy rated state recovery lower than those who were not, though the averages ranged from 5.7 to 5.9, showing little variation between the two groups.
Homeowners specifically believe the state has not recovered enough. More than half of the interviewees picked five or lower to indicate their thoughts on what the state is like now.
Those whose homes were damaged by the storm provided the most negative scores.
Few residents gave a score greater than eight for homeowner recovery.
Political allegiance was shown to matter — conservatives who approve of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s work rated the state’s recovery more highly than those who dislike the state leader.
While a basic breakdown of ethnic backgrounds was provided, the small number of people polled meant there could not be a more involved analysis, Koning said in an email.
Overall, the poll, and previous ones like it, indicate that residents view the state's recovery positively, Koning said in the release.
"We see that views on New Jersey post-Superstorm have really not changed from 2013," she said. "Residents continue to think the state is doing well."