Research Impacts - Polls

New Jersey Residents More Concerned about Climate Change Post-Sandy

Release Date: 5/27/2013
With the Jersey shore still rebuilding after the disastrous storm Sandy, Garden Staters strongly support strict measures to limit development in flood-prone areas and to make housing, bridges and roads more resilient to extreme weather. However, few are willing to pay for these measures.

The Rutgers University/Abt SRBI survey of 1,750 Jersey residents was released at a Rutgers -Edward Bloustein School for Policy and Planning conference May 22. The conference explored climate change and how the state and its residents and businesses can adapt to coming changes. Interviewing was conducted between February 15 and March 25, 2013. 

The survey questioned residents on various questions involving climate change and rebuilding issues following Sandy. The survey also probed whether the government should impose land-use restrictions in flood-prone neighborhoods.

The poll found that:
  • Two-thirds of Garden Staters say Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms changed their views on climate change.
  • 84 percent support in some way governmental measures to identify areas that should not be developed so that the land can act as storm buffers and
  • 80 percent support government financial incentives for home and business owners so they can flood-proof buildings.

"These numbers are telling me that the distance between the individual resident and the implications of climate change has closed," said Bloustein professor Michael Greenberg. More than 4 in 5 -- 85 percent – favored government measures to require those rebuilding in flood zones do to make their houses are more resistant to future floods.

The dilemma facing policy makers is that, while Jerseyans strongly support these measures, they opposed almost all measures to pay for efforts. Of five potential ways to create consistent funding that would pay for projects to rebuild infrastructure or even housing to better withstand extreme weather events, less than a quarter supported those that raised taxes. A multibillion dollar bond issue had support of 42% of Garden Staters, a special 1 percent increase to hotels and recreation facility taxes had support by 53 percent.