Posted on October 2, 2023
The past four years have seen New Jersey’s support for offshore wind projects drop significantly, especially in shore towns, according to a poll released today by the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University
In 2019, respondents supported wind projects that would generate electricity at 80%. Now, support sits at 50% – representing a 30-point drop.
This decline is most pronounced in areas that are near the ocean and bay. In those coastal regions, only 33% of respondents support off-shore wind projects; in 2019, support was at 77% – a significant 44-point decline over the four years.
Worries about sea life and ocean views dominate as reasons why individuals no longer support off-shore wind turbines; 64% of respondents from coastal communities believed that wind turbines would have a major impact on marine life, and 47% said they would on ocean views.
“When the concept of wind farms moved from abstract policy considerations to preparing for actual construction, many residents said, ‘Not in my backyard, or at least not off my beach,’” said John Froonjian, director of the Hughes Center. “That’s especially true along the coast, where wind farms have been the focus of protests and legislative election campaigns.”
The disparity between the state and coastal communities extends into how residents view climate change. Although the poll found that 51% of New Jerseyans believe that it is “very important” for the state to take action on climate change, only 43% of coastal residents concurred. Even more, a majority (52%) of residents say they believed that renewable energy sources, such as wind, would improve the climate, but only 40% of respondents from coastal regions agreed. “
“On every question, residents of shore communities were more negative about wind energy than people living elsewhere in New Jersey,” said Alyssa Maurice, Hughes Center research associate.
Unsurprisingly, party identification also impacted respondents’ views: Democrats overwhelmingly support off-shore wind projects (73%), Republicans strongly disagree, with only 22% supporting the turbines.
The poll of New Jersey adult residents was conducted by The Stockton Polling Institute of the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy was conducted from September 16-26, 2023, with a sample size of 592 New Jersey adult residents and a margin of error of +/- 4.0.