fdu_public_mind_poll            A beleaguered Atlantic City gets some good news from registered voters in the Garden State. A new statewide poll from Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind finds that majorities of voters would recommend Atlantic City as a vacation destination, believe it is safe, and evaluate it positively regarding cleanliness and maintenance.

            Over half (56%) of respondents would recommend Atlantic City to someone as a vacation destination, with young people, non-whites, those without a college education, and recent casino-goers the most supportive of the resort and casino town. Nearly two thirds of those between the ages of 18 and 29 (63%) and 30 and 44 (66%) say they’d recommend Atlantic City, compared with barely half of those 45-59 and 60+ (52% and 47%). Three quarters of non-whites (75%) would recommend Atlantic City, compared with less than half of whites (48%). Two-thirds (63%) of those who have visited a casino in the past 12 months would recommend the area and half (50%) who have not visited would do the same. College graduates are less likely than those with a high school diploma or some college to recommend Atlantic City (50% versus 65% and 62%, respectively).

            “Although there are some differences among key demographics in the state, the takeaway seems to be that people are proud of the historic gaming town and would be willing to recommend the area to someone looking for a vacation destination in New Jersey,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director of PublicMind. “Adding to this are the high marks given to the area for its cleanliness and safety.”

            Almost sixty percent say the area is very (14%) or somewhat safe (45%), and a plurality (43%) believe the area is clean and well-maintained. Again, visits to a casino in the recent past help to burnish Atlantic City’s appeal. On both measures, those who have visited a casino in the past 12 months evaluate the area more safely and well-maintained than those who haven’t been to a casino recently. Younger voters, another key demographic for the gaming industry, are also more predisposed to say positive things about Atlantic City.

            “As New Jersey prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July and embark on a holiday weekend, these results should warm the hearts of Atlantic City defenders who have seen their seaside community buffeted by declining revenues and outside competition for gaming dollars,” said Jenkins.

The Fairleigh Dickinson University poll of 705 registered voters in New Jersey was conducted by telephone with both landline and cell phones from June 10 through June 16, 2013, and has a margin of error of +/-3.7 percentage points.