Monmouth poll: New Jerseyans’ reaction to playing host to World Cup varies by region

The World Cup may not come to the Meadowlands until 2026, but reaction to New Jersey serving as the host for the final and other games seems to be uneven across the Garden State.

According to a Monmouth University Poll on Thursday, North Jersey residents were more engaged and excited than those in the southern part of the state. Most residents believed New Jersey will reap an economic benefit from hosting the event, but, in the end, neighboring New York will probably profit even more.

According to the data collected from 801 adults by phone from Feb. 29 through March 4, only 33% of New Jerseyans heard that the state was going to host the event, while 36% heard a little and 31% know nothing about it.

North Jersey residents were most likely to have heard a lot (41%) while South Jersey residents were most likely to have heard nothing at all (46%) about the state hosting eight games, including the final championship match, at MetLife Stadium.

“The World Cup buzz is certainly bigger in the region where the matches will be held. South Jersey residents are probably more interested in the games that will be played in Philadelphia than in East Rutherford,” Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said.

Sixty percent of New Jerseyans said the World Cup will provide an economic benefit to the state. Just 32% thought it will cost the state more money than it brings in. However, 50% said that New York City — the official co-host for matches taking place on Garden State soil — will see more benefit than the host state. Just 15% said New Jersey will see more of an economic boon than New York and 31% said New Jersey and New York will share this benefit about equally.

“Most residents feel that New Jersey’s World Cup ledger will end up in the black. But there is the question about scoring an economic own-goal. This may equate to New Jersey underwriting most of the expenses only to have more of the economic benefit wind up in the net for New York,” Murray said.