Most New Jersey residents consider their local schools to be safe, but fewer are impressed with their school's overall performance as an institution of learning, according to poll results released on Thursday.

In the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll, conducted in partnership with the organization Project Ready, 35% of respondents said that public schools in their local community are doing a good job. Eighteen percent rated the schools as excellent. Fifteen percent said the schools are doing a poor job.

"New Jersey is known for having some of the best public schools in the country, but it also has some of the most underserved and segregated, so it is no surprise that we have seen mixed reviews on overall public school performance throughout our 50 years of polling," said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University—New Brunswick.

Poll respondents were more unified regarding school safety. More than three-quarters of New Jerseyans said their local schools are very or somewhat safe. Eight percent said the schools were not safe at all.

When asked about the main safety issues facing local schools, New Jerseyans placed guns and school shootings at the top of the list, followed by a lack of security measures.

Partisanship played a role in the poll results. Democrats were more than twice as likely to rate their local schools as excellent, compared with independents and Republicans. Democrats were also more likely to say that public schools in their community were very safe, and were more likely to point to guns and school shootings as the top safety issue.

Black residents were less likely to label their schools as very safe, compared with white and Hispanic residents.

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