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Thursday, August 11, 2005Past Issues - S | M | T | W | T | F | S
South Jersey

September 25, 1999

Survey: Residents favor Bayonne for USS New Jersey

By Staff and wire reports

New Jersey residents favor Bayonne over Camden as the final home of the USS New Jersey, according to a poll that further demonstrates the divide between North Jersey and South Jersey.

A Quinnipiac College poll released Friday concludes that 51 percent of the respondents say the battleship USS New Jersey should be docked in Bayonne, and only 36 percent favor docking it in Camden. The rest were undecided.

But the results vary widely between the northern and southern parts of the state, and even the pollsters acknowledge the sampling was not a thorough study of the issue.

Bayonne and Camden have long been battling over the USS New Jersey and the tourist trade it would bring. The ship is making a 5,800-mile journey back to its namesake state. It left Bremerton, Wash., on Sept. 12 and will dock at its Philadelphia birthplace while preparations are made for its final home.

Two-thirds of those polled in South Jersey say the battleship should go to Camden, across the river from the Philadelphia shipyard where it was built. And two-thirds of those in northern New Jersey say it should be docked as a museum in Bayonne, the favored choice of a state commission also represented heavily by northern New Jerseyans.

But there are more people in northern New Jersey, and central New Jersey voted 53 percent to 31 percent for Bayonne. So in the end, Bayonne won.

"It's the battle between North and South, and North has won again," said Maurice Carroll, director of the poll. "Bayonne is in North Jersey and that's where the votes are."

A Quinnipiac College spokeswoman acknowledged Friday the poll was not an "in-depth'' survey and that no follow-up questions were asked - the primary complaint among those backing Camden as the battleship's ultimate docking site.

"I personally question the poll's lack of depth since only one simple question was asked," said David McGuigan, a retired Navy captain and president of the Homeport Alliance, the applicant for the Camden site. "Where the ship is berthed as a memorial should not be based on a voter's proximity to any one site for his own convenience. The Navy considers other criteria.''

State Sen. John Matheussen, R-Gloucester, said Camden did "quite well" in the poll - particularly when the pollsters admitted to a geographic outreach that favored the more heavily populated areas of the state.

"Fortunately for the Homeport Alliance, the most important opinion on best site for the USS New Jersey is that of the U.S. Navy. Our application more than stands on its merit," he said.

The USS New Jersey was formally launched at the Philadelphia Naval Yard on Dec. 7, 1942, and earned 16 battle stars in four wars before being decommissioned for a final time on Feb. 8, 1991.

The poll surveyed 783 registered voters from Sept. 14 to Sept. 21. It has a 3.5 percent margin of error.

USS New Jersey Home Page

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