As St. Patrick's Day approaches, communities across the Garden State will "go green". It is this time of year that the connection between Ireland and the United States becomes more visible. According to Census data, 39.6 million people in the United States claim Irish Ancestry. In New Jersey, roughly 13% of the population make the same claim.
We, along with our partners at Lenox Consulting, decided to dig a little deeper into attitudes surrounding St. Patrick's Day and Ireland as well as test awareness of Irish outreach efforts.
20% of the respondents to our survey consider themselves to be Irish-American (note: there is a difference in the way the question is asked in the Census American Community Survey and our survey).
Three quarters of New Jersey adults reported having a favorable opinion of Ireland, with a quarter reporting a very favorable opinion.
New Jerseyans also believe that it is important for the United States to maintain a good relationship with Ireland.
A majority of New Jersey adults plan on celebrating (61%) St. Patrick's Day this year.
St. Patrick's Day celebrations also inspire warm feelings about Ireland and Irish culture amongst New Jerseyans with 69% reporting saying that celebrations in their communities create an overall positive impression.
Despite overall positive feelings about Ireland, a majority of New Jerseyans (65%) are not familiar with efforts to increase investment in Ireland through business, culture, education and travel.
Though there is widespread unfamiliarity with efforts, about a quarter of the respondents (26%) do have a general sense that St. Patrick's Day celebrations promote Ireland as a destination for U.S. businesses to expand globally.
When people are introduced to the strong economic ties between Ireland and the United States, they tend to view Ireland even more favorably.
St. Patrick's Day provides a real and important platform for cultural and economic diplomacy for Ireland in New Jersey and beyond. Channeling positive feelings about the holiday is an important tool in working to expand awareness of cultural and economic programs and outreach across the Atlantic.
The survey was conducted from February 22nd-26th, 2017 and surveyed 700 New Jersey adults. Care was taken while in the field to capture a representative sample. Weighting was applied to the results to match known demographics.