Contacts: Dan Cassino 973.896.7072;
‘Jersey Shore’ Helps Perceptions of Garden State
Despite concerns expressed by members of the New Jersey state Legislature, the MTV show “Jersey Shore” does not appear to hurt Americans’ perceptions of the Garden State. According to the most recent national poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™, respondents who have seen the show actually have a more positive view of New Jersey than those who haven’t seen it.
Three of five (59%) of respondents who have seen the show have a favorable view of New Jersey, compared to just 44% of those who have not seen the show. One in five people who have seen the show (20%) has an unfavorable view of New Jersey and about one in five who has not see the show (18%) has an unfavorable view of the state.
“While we can’t be sure that ‘Jersey Shore’ is making people like New Jersey more, it certainly doesn’t seem to be hurting,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of political science at Fairleigh Dickinson University and a survey analyst for PublicMind. “It could be that people who already have a favorable view of New Jersey are simply more likely to watch the show, while those who don’t like Jersey aren’t going to watch the show anyway.”
A clue to what underlies this difference may come from what people say comes to mind when they think of New Jersey. While responses like proximity to New York (8 percent of respondents)
“New Jersey has been using ad campaigns to build awareness of the shore for years,” said Cassino. “Legislators may not be happy with how the state is being portrayed, but the show links New Jersey to its beaches, which is a much better focus than the turnpike.”
The survey does not, however, address other concerns about the program, such as the portrayal of ethnic stereotypes, the frequent use of the term “guido,” which some Italian-Americans find offensive, or the portrayal of life in New Jersey.
“I don’t think anyone would claim that the TV show has anything to do with the real New Jersey,” said Cassino. “Still, the image it portrays doesn’t seem to be hurting the state as some have feared.”
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s independent survey research group PublicMind conducted the poll of 1001 adults nationwide by telephone from Jan. 22, 2010, through Feb. 4, 2010. It has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.
Methodology, questions, and tables are available on the web at: http://publicmind.fdu.edu
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For more than 60 years, Fairleigh Dickinson University has been a leading force in preparing world citizens. Founded in 1942, Fairleigh Dickinson has grown into the largest private university in New Jersey, with more than 12,000 students.