Rutgers-Eagleton poll: New Jerseyans want to see family, go somewhere new

Feeling physically disconnected from loved ones? You’re not alone.

A new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll released on Thursday asked what’s the first thing you want to do when life in New Jersey returns to normal, and one in five residents (20%) said they are craving to reconnect with family and friends.

Similar numbers want to simply go to a different place (17%) other than their house or do a different activity (16%), like going to the gym or shopping.

Just over one in ten (12%) are hoping to eat out, a wish granted as Gov. Phil Murphy introduced new outdoor dining regulations to begin next week.

The rest simply want to go back to work (7%), go on vacation or go to the Shore (both 6%), get a haircut (3%).

Women (26%) and those 18-29 years old (24%) are the groups most likely to want to interact with family and friends.

“New Jerseyans are longing for human connection and a return to the ordinary after almost three months of the pandemic,” Ashley Koning, assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, said. “Yet despite this yearning for normalcy, our polling has shown that New Jerseyans do not expect things to be fully back to normal anytime soon and are still worried about what the future of the pandemic may bring.”

When asked what they’d like to say to health care workers, first responders and essential workers, New Jerseyans expressed high gratefulness, with 56% expressing some sort of thanks, 16% praising the job they do and 9% offering thoughts and prayers.

Mentally, most in the state are doing well amid the pandemic. When asked to describe in one word how they feel right now, 29% said they are doing “great”, 22% are “all right”, and 8% are “OK.” About one in five aren’t doing well, noting they feel scared or anxious (5%) and tired (5%), annoyed or angry (4%), terrible or bad (4%), and stressed (4%).

The poll included 1,502 adults that were contacted by phone from April 22 to May 2. The margin of error is +/- 2.9 percentage points.

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