MADISON, NJ - Although the world champion New York Giants play in New Jersey, practice in New Jersey, and mostly live in New Jersey, the majority of New Jerseyans reject the notion that the team should give up its New York moniker. According to a recent poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind™ about half of respondents (49%) say the Giants are a New York team that happens to play in New Jersey and, when asked further whether the Giants should change their name to the New Jersey Giants, about half (49%) say no. A little more than a third (36%) endorsed the name change, and another 15% were unsure, or didn’t care
The same is true when it comes to the other New York or, is it, New Jersey team – the New York Jets. Fifty percent say the Jets are a New York team that happens to play in New Jersey, and almost the same percentage (47%) reject the idea of a name change to the New Jersey Giants, while 36% say it should change and 17% are unsure or have no opinion.
“This is surprising,” said Krista Jenkins, a pollster with PublicMind. “There was a lot of chatter after the Giants’ Super Bowl victory about changing their name to reflect their New Jersey turf. Apparently these feelings are not widely shared by New Jerseyans.”
Jenkins notes that even Super Fan Governor Chris Christie weighed in on the issue when he appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” recently by arguing “The only thing New York about the Giants is the NY on their helmet.”
“Governor Christie may have a point, but he and others have more work to do in convincing Garden State residents that a name change is in order,” said Jenkins.
The picture changes when only fans’ views are taken into account. Giants and Jets fans are more likely than non-fans to say that their team is really a New Jersey team that happens to have a New York name. Two-thirds of Jets fans (66%) say theirs is really a New Jersey compared to 28% who say it’s a New York team. Meanwhile, Giants fans split with 48% who say theirs is really a New Jersey team and 45% saying it’s a New York team.
But darn those Eagles fans. By a margin of two to one, they see the Giants and Jets as New York teams that just happen to play in New Jersey. “I wonder if they would change their mind if the Eagles played on the other side of the Delaware,” added Jenkins.
Enthusiasm for a name change runs deepest among Jets fans. A solid majority (60%) support a name change, compared to only 41% among Giants fans who support a name change.
“Bottom line, Jersey pride may run deep in some things, but when it comes to the Jets and Giants, many Garden Staters are cool sharing their Sunday stars with New York.”
The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 800 registered voters statewide was conducted by telephone using both landlines and cell phones from Mar. 5 through Mar. 11, 2012, and has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points.