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Poll: New Jersey is actually a pretty good place to live

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Much maligned New Jersey, the butt of jokes about being overrun by roadways, is actually a "very good" or "fairly good" place to live, according to 79 percent of voters, a poll showed on Wednesday.

Less a paved paradise and more a jewel of natural beauty in the eyes of residents, Garden State voters say what they like best about their home state are its ocean beaches, according to the poll by Quinnipiac University.

Asked what they like to do most in New Jersey, 49 percent say ocean beaches, 11 percent Atlantic City, home to many casinos, 11 percent sightseeing and 10 percent the boardwalk.

But even a day at the beach in New Jersey isn't entirely a day at the beach, with shore communities imposing too many restrictions for getting onto the sand, according to 48 percent of voters. And that's not the only gripe.

"Voters of every stripe want bathrooms at the beach," said Maurice Carroll, director of the university's polling institute.

Overall, 83 percent of voters say the state should require towns to provide restrooms at the shore, with 86 percent of female voters demanding more relief and 80 percent of men saying they agree.

Living La Vida Joisey does appeal to 79 percent of voters, but another 20 percent said New Jersey is a "fairly bad" and "very bad" place to live.

For most, however, their home state is such a nice place that Jersey girls and boys like to stay put even on vacation, with 80 percent saying the Garden State is a "very good" or "fairly good" place for a holiday. Not so much for the 17 percent who say it's a "fairly bad" or "very bad" place for a vacation.

With Republican governor Chris Christie continuing to draw a national spotlight despite his repeated denials of a 2012 presidential run, 66 percent of voters -- Democrats more than Republicans -- pledge to stick around for some home-grown entertainment this year, either vacationing or sightseeing in their own backyard.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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