Nearly 70% of New Jerseyans believe that Black and white people are not treated equally in society – up from 50% in 2012 — but one-third of the state says that racial and ethnic discrimination is not a problem in New Jersey, according to a new Monmouth University poll released today.
“Optimism about the future of race relations appears to have peaked during the Obama years,” said Patrick Murray, the executive director of the Monmouth University Polling institute. “It looks like we are back to where things stood at least two decades ago according to public opinion in New Jersey.”
Asked if Blacks and whites are generally treated equally, 33% of white New Jersey residents answered yes and 61% said no; among New Jerseyans of color, just 15% said yes and 79% responded no.
The divide was starker when the equality question was reported by political party; 85% of Democrats and 67% of independents responded that Blacks and whites are not treated equally, but Republicans were statistically even at 46% saying they were and 45% indicating they were not Women are also more likely – by twelve percentage points – to agree that Blacks and whites are not treated the same than men.
“As New Jersey has grown more diverse, residents seem to appreciate the positive impact of that diversity on life in the Garden State,” Murray stated. “Still, when they look at the world around them, most feel the nation is far from being an equitable society when it comes to matters of race.”
Greater than three-fourths of New Jerseyans view race relations in the area where they reside as either excellent (23%) or good (53%). More than 80% of whites feel that way, while the number is three in four Hispanics and Asians, and six in ten blacks.
More than four in ten New Jerseyans (44%) say that immigration into the state has been good for New Jersey, while 26% say it’s been bad. Just 19% of Republicans think immigration has been good, while 50% say it’s been bad.
More than four in ten state residents (43%) don’t think they will see equal treatment for Black and white people during their lifetime, while 27% believe they will and 26% think they already have. That number is nearly the same among residents over age 55 and those between the ages of 18-34.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted from January 5-9 with a sample size of 809 New Jersey adults and a margin of error of +/- 4.7%. The poll was taken before Murphy’s annual State of the State address on January 10, 2023. North Jersey is defined as Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, Warren, Central is Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset, and South is Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, Salem.