Never before has a bigger share of New Jersey residents expressed a negative view of their state.

In a poll released Tuesday by Monmouth University, 15 percent of residents said New Jersey is an "excellent" place to call home. Thirty-nine percent rated the state as "good."

The 54 percent positivity rating marks a numerical low point for this metric in similar polls going back to 1980 when Rutgers University's Eagleton Poll original asked the question.

"Very rarely do we see that number dip below 60 percent," Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, told New Jersey 101.5.

Twenty-nine percent of respondents rated New Jersey as "fair," and 17 percent said the state is a "poor" place to call home.

Based on residents' responses to five poll questions, Monmouth's exclusive Garden State Quality of Life Index recorded a score of +18. That's down from +25 in July 2017 and matches prior lows hit in 2015 and 2014.

While just over half the state considers New Jersey as at least a good place to live, more than 70 percent express positive views of their own town or city — and those views kept the Index score from completely tanking. Positivity ratings hit 65 percent for neighborhood safety, 60 percent for the performance of local schools, and 73 percent for local environmental quality.

The 703 New Jersey adults surveyed in April were also asked for their opinion on the most important issue(s) facing the state right now. Once again, the state's highest-in-the-nation property tax burden came in as the No. 1 response (45 percent).

"Property taxes have been at the top of this list pretty much for the last 13 years," Murray said. "This is the thing that people can say is really out of whack."

And with the same problem aggravating residents for so long, Murray said, it's no surprise that more and more have decided to "just give up."

"Rather than spending time wasting their vote at the ballot box, I think a lot more people are starting to think that it's more effective to vote with their feet and just leave the state," he said.

Property taxes shared the top spot with jobs in 2012, and was displaced temporarily by jobs as the No. 1 response in 2013.


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