Poll: 96% of New Jerseyans are folllowing the Ebola crisis
Ebola has captivated New Jerseyans, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) PublicMind poll released Monday.
Overall, 96 percent of those polled said they are following the news coverage of Ebola. Sixty-four percent said they are following the news very closely and 32 percent said they are following it somewhat closely.
"It's rare to see the public paying such close attention to anything," said Krista Jenkins, a professor of political science at FDU and director of the poll, in an emailed press release on Oct. 27.
That attentiveness is paying off, according to Jenkins, because 80 percent of those polled can correctly state that Ebola is transmitted through direct contact, as opposed to being airborne.
What do New Jerseyans think about the government's handling of Ebola?
"Two-thirds of registered voters give the federal government a fair or poor rating for its handling of the Ebola virus, but a majority (53 percent) say the state would do a good job should the virus turn up in New Jersey," Jenkins said. "Hopefully the state's public health system won't be tested, but if it is, voters seem to think the mistakes made elsewhere won't be repeated here."
Democrats and women give the federal government higher marks for its handling of Ebola thus far versus men and Republicans. In fact, 68 percent of women and 45 percent of Democrats think the federal government has done an excellent or good job responding to the virus. On the flip side, only 29 percent of men and 17 percent of Republicans give the federal government positive marks.
Thus far, no one in New Jersey has been diagnosed with Ebola. Last week, Gov. Chris Christie announced the creation of a joint response team to coordinate Ebola preparedness and oversee the state's response to the outbreak. Newark Liberty International Airport is one of five airports all U.S.-bound passengers whose trips began in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone must pass through.
The epidemic in West Africa has killed about 4,800 people. In the U.S. the first person diagnosed with the disease was a Liberian man, who fell ill days after arriving in Dallas and later died, becoming the only fatality. None of his relatives who had contact with him got sick. Two nurses who treated him were infected, but one was released from a hospital on Oct. 24. The other is still hospitalized. On Oct. 23, a doctor who recently returned from an assignment in West Africa, tested positive for the virus in New York City.
The poll of 1,107 registered voters in New Jersey was conducted from Oct. 13 through Oct. 19 by telephone. It has a margin of error of +/-2.9 percentage points.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.