NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – New Jerseyans are still feeling the effects of Sandy one year after the hurricane pounded the Garden State, according to a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll of registered voters, with two-thirds saying the state is not yet “back to normal.” The results represent some improvement since April 2013, when 78 percent said life here was not yet normal. Most still think it will be years before normalcy returns.

Just 12 percent of respondents who think things are not normal are optimistic pre-Sandy conditions will return within another year. Sixty-one percent expect a return to normalcy might take up to five years, and 13 percent think it will take up to a decade. Three percent see recovery taking more than a decade, and 6 percent say pre-Sandy normalcy will never return. Another six percent are uncertain.  “While slightly more Garden Staters think we are back, many are no more optimistic about the length of recovery than they were back in April,” said David Redlawsk, director of the Rutgers-Eagletonn Poll and professor of political science at Rutgers University.

“At that time, 78 percent saw a return to normalcy taking as long as five years. That number has declined only five points. Clearly, New Jerseyans continue to see a long haul ahead.”  Despite the modest improvement in outlook, most respondents give low to mediocre ratings to progress of the recovery. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 meaning “not at all recovered” and 10 meaning “fully recovered,” voters score the state’s overall recovery at 6.1. Asked about specifics, ratings are lower. Recovery of the Shore region is rated at 4.7, while voters score recovery for homeowners with sustained damage, at 4.8. Assessments of tourism (5.7) and business (5.9) are some what more favorable.

In a June poll, voters gave Shore recovery a mark of 6.2. The state’s overall recovery mark also has dropped, from 6.9 in the last poll. “Since summer, we have seen the Seaside Park boardwalk fire and an increase in media attention to those who have not yet recovered from the storm,” said Redlawsk. “Moreover, there were reports of disappointing summer tourism. It is not surprising people feel less positive about the recovery.”

What do you think about the recovery process?

One comment

  1. First, I don’t think we’ll ever return to the same “normal” that existed before Sandy. More people are walking away from their homes or choosing to relocate to higher ground, not necessarily in Highlands. If you’re back in your home you might be back to “normal” but your block or your street probably isn’t.

    Second, I voted “not very optimistic” but there is a reason for it. We won’t get the ball rolling on new commercial tenants until we get the flooding fixed. I know the town is working on it, but it’s not going to be fixed overnight. Even when the project is done we’ll need to convince business owners that the new pumps and check valves work. I don’t see this town getting back to the level of occupied homes & businesses until at least 2015. But I still hold out hope that I’m surprised and it happens sooner.


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