Poll: 40 Percent Don't Know Why NJ's the Garden State
A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll asked New Jersey residents why the state has the nickname.
About 40 percent of those questioned in the latest Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll couldn't properly identify why New Jersey's called the Garden State.
In the poll—which was sponsored by the New Jersey Farm Bureau, and also looked at broader issues of how New Jersey voters see the state's produce-producing role—three of five voters (60 percent) correctly said the state's nickname was meant to reflect the state's farming interests.
But results vary somewhat across groups: nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those over the age of 60 know about the Garden State moniker, compared to just 45 percent of voters under age 30. In the more rural southern and western portions of the state, 71 percent and 73 percent of voters respectively correctly associate the Garden State nickname with farming, compared to only 43 percent of respondents in the urban core of the state, 55 percent in the northeast counties, and 61 percent in the central part of the state.
"Conveying this message to people inside and outside of the state is part of our mission at the New Jersey Farm Bureau," bureau Executive Director Peter Furey said.
If not the Garden State, then ...
As a complement to the poll's question about the meaning of the state's nickname, Patch.com recently asked readers what they think New Jersey's nickname should really be. Some of the answers readers posted to sites were cynical: the Tax-Me State, the Money-Does-Buy-Happiness State, the Bankrupt State, the Entitlement State, the Give -Til It Hurts State, the Traffic Congestion State and Asphalt State. Others honed in on some of New Jersey's best-known features: Malls Are Us, the Best Beach State, the Taylor Ham State (a nod to New Jersey's diners), Lucky Town (after the Bruce Springsteen song), the Seashore State ("Jersey folks Don't Go to the Beach, We Go Down the Shore," the reader wrote), and the The Left Lane is the Fast Lane, Get Out of the Way State.
A sixth-grade class from Grover Cleveland Middle School in Caldwells offered up more than 25 suggestions, including the Fist Pumpin' State, the Pizza State and This is Coolness; This is Jersey.
Hopatcong resident Lynn LoPorto wrote to the site: "How about 'New Jersey ... The Enjoyable State.' Why are we so negative about the state we chose to live in? Why not think about some of the reasons we do live here? There are so many things to enjoy about the state. The Jersey Shore, our beautiful lakes, the mountains, the flatlands, casinos, performing art centers, the New York Skyline, the malls and malls and malls just to name a few. Yeah, we have our problems, but so does everywhere else. New Jersey has a lot to offer, we just need to learn to enjoy them."
Views on New Jersey farming
In another matter addressed by the poll, better than four in five (85 percent) of New Jersey voters say they would like to see more Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables served with public school meals, even if it costs slightly more. According to a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll sponsored by the New Jersey Farm Bureau, support is strong across all demographics, and in fact in no category is it less than 80 percent.
"Our support here in New Jersey for locally grown produce coincides with the national attention Michele Obama has given to improving the diets of school children," said Furey said.
Moreover, nearly three in four of those surveyed (73 percent) have "a lot" of confidence in the safety of the Garden State's locally grown produce. This echoes previous polling data taken since 2006. More than four in five (83 percent) say they or their family members have purchased Jersey Fresh fruits and vegetables from a farm stand or farmers market over the past several months.
"New Jerseyans confidence in locally-grown food and their concern with safety is reflected in the U.S. Congress's current attempt to make a sweeping overhaul of food safety laws which would, if passed, provide for some inspection of foreign food facilities," Furey said.
On an emerging environmental issue, only one in four of those polled (26 percent) who apply fertilizer to their lawns test the soil to ensure that the fertilizer they use matches the need of the soil.
"There is growing interest in this topic. Fertilizers are expensive. Farmers use them judiciously and homeowners are encouraged to do the same," Furey said.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll was sponsored by the New Jersey Farm Bureau and conducted by telephone from Nov. 15 through Nov. 22 using a randomly selected sample of 608 registered voters statewide. The margin of error for a sample of 608 is +/- 4 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.