NEW JERSEY: COVID EXPOSURE, CONCERN INCREASES

West Long Branch, NJ – A majority of New Jerseyans remain concerned about a serious Covid-related illness affecting their family nearly three years after the pandemic first hit the state.

The Monmouth University Poll also finds that the number of Garden State residents who report testing positive for Covid has surpassed a majority. Still, New Jerseyans oppose, by a 2 to 1 margin, bringing back mask and social distancing guidelines. Fewer than 1 in 4 have received the bivalent booster shot that became available last fall.

            A majority of New Jersey adults are concerned (27% very and 30% somewhat) about someone in their family becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus outbreak. This level of concern (57% combined) is up slightly from last year (50% in April 2022), but is lower than in 2021 when about 2 in 3 were concerned about a serious Covid illness in their family. The number of state residents who report testing positive for Covid has risen from 38% nearly a year ago to 56% in the current poll. This increase has been seen in every demographic group.

At the same time, only 1 in 3 (32%) New Jerseyans support reinstituting general face mask and social distancing guidelines in the state, while 63% are opposed. These results are virtually unchanged from last year, although this is a reversal from polls taken in 2021 when 6 in 10 backed bringing back these measures. Support for reinstituting Covid guidelines varies across party lines – from 50% of Democrats who support bringing back social distancing measures to just 26% of independents and 15% of Republicans who feel the same. Support in New Jersey for bringing back Covid guidelines is not much higher than national opinion (25% according to a Monmouth poll conducted last fall).

            “New Jersey’s attitude seems to be Covid is here to stay and we’ve just got to live with it,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

More than 8 in 10 New Jersey adults report being vaccinated for Covid, including 2 in 3 who have received a booster shot. However, only 23% of the adult population has gotten the bivalent booster which became available last September. One-third of those age 55 and older (33%) have gotten the bivalent shot versus fewer than 1 in 5 adults under 55 years old. Uptake of the new booster is more common among Democrats (35%) than among independents (18%) and Republicans (15%). On top of the nearly 1 in 4 who have gotten the new booster, another 16% say they are very likely to get it. At the other end of the spectrum, 35% say they are not at all likely to get it. Garden State residents are only slightly more willing to get the bivalent booster than all Americans based on recent Monmouth national polling.

“New Jerseyans may be vaxxed out at this point. Based on past findings, most of those who will get the new booster have already done so. If you don’t feel you are very likely to do it, you almost certainly won’t. That means it’s probable that less than half of the state population will be covered by the bivalent booster,” said Murray.

In other poll findings, Gov. Phil Murphy continues to receive broadly positive reviews for his handling of the Covid outbreak, with 66% saying he has done a good job and just 26% saying he has done a bad job. Approval of Murphy’s Covid actions come from 91% of Democrats, 61% of independents, and 37% of Republicans. His positive rating for handling Covid has never dropped below 60% since the pandemic started three years ago.

            “More than a handful of Republicans give Murphy props for how he’s dealt with the pandemic, which is saying something in the current political environment. It’s just not the most important issue for state residents of any partisan stripe right now,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from January 5 to 9, 2023 with 809 New Jersey adults. The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percentage points for the full sample. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1 & Q29-37 held for future release.]

[Q2-28 previously released.]

38.    How concerned are you about someone in your family becoming seriously ill from the coronavirus outbreak – very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not at all concerned?

  TREND:

Jan.2023

April2022

Sept.2021*

Aug.2021*

May2021

April2020

Very concerned

27%

23%

43%

43%

38%

60%

Somewhat concerned

30%

27%

27%

25%

24%

26%

Not too concerned

22%

26%

17%

17%

19%

8%

Not at all concerned

19%

23%

12%

12%

17%

5%

(VOL) Has already happened

1%

1%

1%

1%

2%

1%

(VOL) Don’t know

0%

0%

1%

1%

0%

0%

   (n)

(809)

(802)

(804)

(810)

(706)

(704)

            * Registered voters

39.    At any time during the pandemic, did you ever have Covid or think you had Covid?

[If YES: Was your Covid status confirmed with a test, were you given the diagnosis by a medical professional without a test, or did you just know you had Covid?]

  TREND:

Jan.2023

April2022

Yes, confirmed with a test

56%

38%

Yes, without a test

2%

2%

Yes, just knew had Covid

7%

9%

No, have not had Covid

34%

50%

(VOL) Don’t know

1%

1%

(n)

(809)

(802)

40.    Has Governor Murphy done a good job or bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak?

  TREND:

Jan.2023

April2022

Sept.2021*

Aug.2021*

May2021

April2020

Good job

66%

67%

62%

61%

66%

79%

Bad job

26%

25%

27%

28%

27%

10%

(VOL) Mixed, depends

5%

5%

6%

6%

6%

7%

(VOL) Don’t know

3%

2%

5%

6%

1%

3%

   (n)

(809)

(802)

(804)

(810)

(706)

(704)

            * Registered voters

 

41.    Do you support or oppose reinstituting face mask and social distancing guidelines in New Jersey at the current time?

  TREND:

Jan.2023

April2022

Sept.2021*

Aug.2021*

Support

32%

34%

61%

62%

Oppose

63%

64%

36%

35%

(VOL) Depends

3%

2%

n/a

n/a

(VOL) Don’t know

2%

1%

4%

3%

   (n)

(809)

(802)

(804)

(810)

            * Registered voters

42.    Have you received at least one dose of Covid vaccine, or not?

  TREND:

Jan.2023

April2021

Sept.2021*

Aug.2021*

May2021

Yes

82%

80%

84%

79%

63%

No

16%

18%

14%

17%

36%

(VOL) Don’t know

1%

2%

2%

5%

2%

(n)

(809)

(802)

(804)

(810)

(706)

            * Registered voters

43.    Have you received a booster shot of the Covid vaccine, or not? [If YES:] Have you received a booster since September – that was when the new multi-strain boosters came out – or was your last booster shot before September?

Jan.2023

Boosted since Sept.

23%

Boosted before Sept.

43%

Not received booster

16%

Not vaxxed (from Q42)

16%

(VOL) Don’t know

1%

   (n)

(809)

44.    How likely are you to get the new multi-strain Covid booster shot – very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not at all likely?

  COMPARISON:

Jan.2023

 

 

April2022*

Already received booster (from Q43)

23%

 

 

59%

Very likely

16%

 

 

4%

Somewhat likely

13%

 

 

5%

Not too likely

11%

 

 

6%

Not at all likely

35%

 

 

24%

(VOL) Don’t know

1%

 

 

1%

   (n)

(809)

 

 

(802)

*Asked about likelihood of receiving the original booster then available.

 

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from January 5 to 9, 2023 with a probability-based random sample of 809 New Jersey adults age 18 and older. This includes 286 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 523 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2021 one-year survey). Interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, with sample obtained from Dynata.  For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 4.7 percentage points (adjusted for sample design effects). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

NJ Regions (by county)

North – Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, Warren

Central – Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset

South – Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

Self-Reported

23% Republican

39% Independent

38% Democrat

 

49% Male

51% Female

 

27% 18-34

34% 35-54

39% 55+

 

55% White

13% Black

20% Hispanic

12% Asian/Other

 

59% No degree

41% 4 year degree

MARGIN OF ERROR

unweighted  sample

moe(+/-)

TOTAL

 

809

4.7%

REGISTERED VOTER

Yes

756

4.8%

No

53

18.3%

SELF-REPORTED PARTY ID

Republican

176

10.0%

Independent

315

7.5%

Democrat

294

7.8%

REGION

North

360

7.0%

Central

248

8.5%

South

186

9.8%

GENDER

Male

396

6.7%

Female

413

6.6%

AGE

18-34

141

11.2%

35-54

302

7.7%

55+

350

7.1%

RACE

White, non-Hispanic

515

5.9%

Other

271

8.1%

COLLEGE GRADUATE

No degree

335

7.3%

4 year degree

469

6.1%

INCOME

<$50K

118

12.2%

$50 to <$100K

194

9.6%

$100K+

427

6.4%

CHILDREN IN HOME

Yes

239

8.6%

No

566

5.6%