How do you think things are going in the Great Garden State?

A new survey finds a majority of New Jersey residents — 52% – believe the state is heading in the wrong direction.

Ashley Koning, the director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling, said "these latest numbers continue a downward trend that we first saw in October of 2021.”

She said there had been a brighter outlook in June of 2021, when the governor had pandemic-induced high ratings, COVID cases were dropping, vaccinations were on the rise and the state was reopening.

It's a partisan issue

Koning pointed out right and wrong track depends on who you ask, and “82% of Republicans say the state has gone off on the wrong track, as opposed to 64% of Democrats who say the state is going in the right direction. Over half of independents also say the state is going off on the wrong track (55%).”

She noted 57% of white residents have a negative outlook on the state’s future while 33% of Black residents and 41% of Hispanic residents do as well. Millennials are the least pessimistic (38%) and most optimistic (48%) age group.

It's too expensive here

The poll also finds when it comes to cost of living and affordability, 8 in 10 New Jerseyans say they are dissatisfied on some level.

Koning said when it comes to having the state is handling taxes, 3 in 4 are dissatisfied.

“Just over half express some level of dissatisfaction with how the state is handling the budget and government spending, while a third are more positive on the issue," she said.

Some positives

On the bright side, she said about half or more of New Jerseyans are satisfied with the state government’s handling of a variety of areas.

— 54% are satisfied with handling of the pandemic

— 55% satisfied with the economy and job market

— 57% are satisfied with crime and safety

— 58% are satisfied with the environment

— 61% are satisfies with health care

— 65% are satisfied with education and schools

A total of 1,044 adults were contacted by live interviewers on landlines and cell phones between February 25 and March 4. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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Best coffee shops & cafes near NJ beaches

When it comes to food, New Jersey is known for many things such as pizza and pork roll. Don't count us out when it comes to coffee.

With all the hustle and bustle involved in the average New Jersey resident's day, coffee is essential. It doesn't matter whether you're living in the cities of North Jersey or the vacation spots at the shore.

In fact, as the former owner of two Jersey shore coffee houses, Coffee Dot Comedy in Sea Isle City and the Daily Grind in Ocean Grove, I know firsthand how much people at the Jersey shore love their coffee.

With respect to that, I asked my social media following where the best coffee houses at the Jersey Shore were, especially since my two places no longer exist.

Below is what they came up with. (And see this other article for their coffee shop and cafe recommendations for Central Jersey.)

NJ Diners that are open 24/7

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