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According to a statewide survey conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute (MUPI) and commissioned by New Jersey Retailers for Responsible Liquor Licensing (NJRRLL), more than three out of every four New Jerseyans who consume alcohol support a proposed change the state law to permit wine and spirit sales in supermarkets.
The aim of the telephone survey of 787 New Jersey residents age 21 and older, which took place last month, was to assess public opinion on allowing such sales. Among 76 percent of regular purchasers, the answer was a resounding “yes.”
“We were overwhelmingly surprised by the strong support for the change,” noted Richard Levesque, executive director of Trenton-based NJRRLL. “The public favors the modification as a matter of convenience for the occasional purchase of a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine.”
Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-6) recently introduced legislation to gradually raise to 10 a current two-license limit for grocery stores. Greenwald has referred to the limit a “holdover from a bygone era,” adding that the measure would help create jobs and spur economic growth.
Additional findings of the survey are as follows:
—The majority of New Jerseyans (56 percent) believe supermarkets should be allowed to sell alcoholic beverages, vs. 38 percent of Garden State residents who are against it. Support was at 51 percent among occasional shoppers and dropped to 29 percent among those who never buy alcohol
—Among those who favor allowing such sales, convenience is the most important argument (50 percent). Among those against such sales, the top concern was minors having easier access to alcohol (33 percent)
—Over four in 10 (44 percent) New Jerseyans who purchase alcohol said they would continue buying alcohol at liquor stores as often as they do now if supermarkets sold alcohol. A similar number (47 percent) said they would go less often
—Younger people are more likely to favor alcohol sales in supermarkets, with 65 percent of those between the ages of 21 and 34 in favor of it, vs. 57 percent of 35 to 54 year olds and 49 percent of those 55 and older
—One in three residents of suburbia oppose the change, but just over half of urbanites are against supermarkets selling alcohol, with most of them (42 percent) being strongly opposed. When asked, many urban residents answered that they’re opposed to drinking in general and the they fear an increase in underage drinking
—Top reasons given for allowing supermarket alcohol sales by those in favor of them were convenience (50 percent) as the most important argument, the idea that “other states do it” (15 percent), the feeling that there’s just no good reason for limiting the sale of alcohol to liquor stores (14 percent).
—More than four out of 10 (44 percent of) New Jerseyans who buy alcohol said that expanding sales to supermarkets wouldn’t alter their alcohol-purchasing habits at all. A similar number (47 percent) said they would go to liquor stores less often. About one in four of each group would go a little less often (24 percent) or a lot less often (23 percent). Among regular alcohol shoppers, 38 percent said they planned to purchase from local liquor stores as often as before, while occasional shoppers are less likely to change their behavior (49% percent)
Complete poll results are available online at www.onestopshopnj.com.