Teaneck Likes Itself

By John Koster, staff writer
From: The Record, Tuesday, May 25, 1976

A professional survey reports that 76 per cent of the township's residents find this a favorable place to live and that favorable attitudes about Teaneck outweigh unfavorable attitudes by a 15-1 margin.

This glowing report follows months of surveying by three professional. groups. Paid for with $25,000 in funds budgeted by the 1974 council, the survey, taken in September and October of 1975, also reveals that:

  1. Nine out of every 10 heads of households are satisfied with the way' people keep up their houses.
  2. Eight out of 10 give favorable ratings to the fire department, police force, and ambulance service.
  3. Six out of 10 declare that relations between members of different races and religions in the town are just as good as, or better than, they were five years ago, and 74 per cent of the residents saw no disadvantages to living in a community of varying racial and religious backgrounds.
  4. Some 61 per cent of those with children under 19 thought the quality of education was favorable, and another 18 per cent called it average. Only 7 per cent called it unfavorable, and 11 per cent had no opinion.

Of the major questions asked of the 300 residents polled, only mass transit and swimming facilities received heavily negative responses. Only 8 per cent of those surveyed were satisfied with the quality of public swimming facilities. And only 12 per cent thought mass transit facilities were adequate.

Ten per cent of those polled thought the streets could be cleaner, and 12 per cent were dissatisfied with stores and shopping available locally.

In a question on Teaneck's weak points, 30 per cent mentioned taxes as the thing they liked least.

Teaneck officials decided to commission the survey to define the township's strengths and weaknesses as a place to live. Since residential real estate is the township's most important ratable, the council regarded this issue as extremely significant.

The township commissioned T.J. Ross and Associates, a national public relations survey counsel, which in turn retained Benson & Benson, a Princeton-based research firm. An additional project by the New Jersey Poll of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers sampled responses of 1,000 adults across the state.

As explained at a press conference yesterday by Kendrick S. Few of Benson & Benson and David S. Frank of T.J. Ross, the process was complicated.

The pollsters first met with 90 political, civic, religious, and educational leaders to determine what the important questions of the day might be to Teaneck residents. Having winnowed down the number of questions, the survey then divided up the town by its six census tracts, and used books of random numbers to select which blocks to canvass.

The survey designers then instructed their pollsters to alternate between interviewing the male and female heads of households, unless the pollsters encountered households headed by a single adult.

Interviews usually took about a half hour. The results were checked by a computer, and the information was filed for ready access in case of future heed.

The pollsters found that Teaneck is much praised and little criticized as a place to live, both by white and black residents, with the blacks slightly more favorable than the whites.

Approval, however, was widespread among all the various categories delineated; males, females, those with or without college background, upper income, lower income, those with school-age children, and younger and older persons.

The separate Eagleton poll of 1,000 outsiders indicated that residents throughout the state who are familiar with Teaneck feel favorable towards the town and that those who live within 10 miles of it feel more favorable than those farther away.

"We are please, but not surprised, that the opinion surveys show that people regard Teaneck very favorably as a place to live," said Mayor Eleanor Kieliszek.

One problem that the survey didn't deal with specifically was the attitude toward high-rise buildings.  Recently, some resident have advocated limited high-rises in the Glenwood Park area, for increased ratables, while others have urged that no high-rises be built. 

Mayor Kieliszek and the pollsters say that issue had not been treated as a question, but that the poll general indicated that most residents didn't particularly favor high-rises or want to move into them.

 Another discovery was that only 21 per cent of those polled said they felt they were very well informed about news and civic events in Teaneck.


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