Stockton Poll: Climate Change a Major Problem in N.J.

froonjian at coast day 2019

John Froonjian, interim director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton presents Climate Change poll results at Coast Day at Stockton University Atlantic City Oct. 13.

Galloway, N.J. – Two-thirds of New Jersey residents believe climate change is a crisis or a major problem and almost three-quarters believe it is affecting New Jersey now, according to a Stockton University poll released today.

The telephone poll of 807 adult New Jersey residents, conducted Sept. 18-29, 2019 by the Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton, shows 67 percent believe climate change is a crisis or major problem.  A larger group, 73 percent, believe it is already affecting New Jersey.

The views of residents who live in counties along the shore or Delaware Bay (Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem) were statistically similar to those statewide.  After the statewide poll was completed, the Polling Institute continued interviewing residents of coastal and bay counties, creating a dataset of 563 interview results that were compared with statewide results. The poll has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percent statewide and +/- 4.1 percent coastal.

“The results show climate change is a concern to people all over New Jersey and not just those who live along the Jersey shore,” said John Froonjian, interim director of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton, who presented an overview of the results at Coast Day at Stockton Atlantic City on Oct. 13.

Among those who believe climate change is currently affecting New Jersey, more than 75 percent cited rising sea level, earth warming, harming or changing the ocean, extreme weather and worsening pollution as major problems. Beach erosion was cited by 70 percent as a major problem, while harm to farming was mentioned by 68 percent, flooding by 66 percent and health effects by 57 percent.

Sixty-four percent of respondents believe climate change is caused mainly by human activity and burning fossil fuels.  Twenty-seven percent believe it is a natural occurrence.

More than half of respondents (56 percent) believe government could or should do more, and 31 percent say the government response is totally inadequate. Ten percent believe the government response has been strong and appropriate.

Views did vary along party lines. Democrats (92 percent) and independents (64 percent) were more likely to see climate change as a crisis or major problem than Republicans (35 percent).  Women (72 percent) were also more likely to view it as a crisis or major problem than men (62 percent).

The results also showed while young people are the most concerned about the issue, concern cuts across age, racial, ethnic, economic, gender and geographic lines.  Almost 80 percent of respondents ages 18-29 see climate changes as a crisis or a major problem. That percentage drops to under 70 percent for those over 65.

Seventy-two percent said they believe flooding in the coastal zone of the state is a significant or serious problem. Just over half (54 percent) would support local construction projects to reduce the threat of flooding, even if they had to pay higher taxes or fees.  A larger group (68 percent) would support limiting or restricting construction next to beaches and the ocean, and 85 percent would support building dunes to protect the shore even if they block the view of the ocean.

A majority of respondents (59 percent) oppose drilling for natural gas or oil off the Atlantic Coast, while 80 percent said they would support wind turbines off the coast to harness wind energy.

 “We wondered whether those living near the water would feel differently about these issues than residents throughout the state,” Froonjian said. “But there was broad agreement across New Jersey. On almost every question, results in coastal areas were within a few percentage points of the statewide responses.”

For full poll results, go to Poll Results

About the Hughes Center

The William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy ( at Stockton University serves as a catalyst for research, analysis and innovative policy solutions on the economic, social and cultural issues facing New Jersey, and promotes the civic life of New Jersey through engagement, education and research. The center is named for William J. Hughes, whose distinguished career includes service in the U.S. House of Representatives, Ambassador to Panama and as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Stockton. The Hughes Center can be found on YouTube, and can be followed on Facebook @StocktonHughesCenter, Twitter @hughescenter and Instagram @ stockton_hughes_center .


The poll of New Jersey adults was conducted by the Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University. The telephone survey was conducted Sept. 18-29, 2019. Live interviewers who are mostly Stockton University students called random numbers of cell phones and landlines from the Stockton University campus. Overall, 61 percent of interviews were conducted on cell phones and 39 percent on landline phones. A total of 807 respondents screened as adults and residents of New Jersey were interviewed for the statewide poll. Residents of Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem counties were oversampled to provide data to compare statewide responses with results from counties along the coast or the Delaware Bay. There are 222 interview results in coastal counties that are common to both datasets. Both cell and landline phone numbers came from a sample provided by Aristotle. Data were weighted based on U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 5-year data for New Jersey on variables of age, ethnicity, education level, sex and region. The poll's margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level for statewide results and +/- 4.1 percentage points for coastal county results. MOE is higher for subsets.


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Diane DAmico
Director of News and Media Relations
Stockton University
Galloway, N.J. 08205