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97% of New Jerseyans support social distancing

By David Wildstein, April 21 2020 11:32 am

With near unanimity, 97% of New Jerseyans say they support social distancing recommendations that require people to remain six feet apart in public to slow the spread of COVID-19, a new Monmouth University poll released today says.

New Jersey gets poor reviews on the amount of available COVID-19 testing, with just 67% of the state saying not enough tests have been made accessible and 27% saying there are enough tests.

Among those who say there isn’t enough testing, 29% think the state could have done more and 31% say it’s out of the state’s control.

New Jersey residents also overwhelmingly approve of other orders related to the coronavirus pandemic issued by Gov. Phil Murphy over the past several weeks:

* Require people to wear face coverings in stores and public places: 95%-4%
* Restaurants limited to takeout or delivery: 94%-5%.
* Gym closures: 94%-6%.
* Library closures: 89%-9%.
* Ban on gatherings and parties, including private homes: 88%-12%.
* Child care centers closed: 88%-10%.
* Supermarket hours limited: 80%-18%.

The only issue that even comes close to controversy is that nearly one-third of New Jerseyans (32%) oppose publicly naming individuals cited by police for violating social distancing mandates.  Still, 64% support the move by Murphy, State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

“This is one measure that has escaped the public’s attention. If the question we asked had mentioned the fact that many of those cited also coughed or spat on police officers and grocery store workers, approval of this action would probably be even higher in the poll,” said Patrick Murray, the director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Nearly three-quarters of New Jerseyans (74%) support Murphy’s decision to stop non-essential construction projects, while 23% oppose it.

Under normal circumstances, these numbers would be viewed as receiving the strong approval of the state and are only noticeable in the context of public support of the rest of the restrictions.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from April 16-19 with 704 New Jersey adults and has a margin of error of +/- 3.7%.

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