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New Jersey residents want shore rebuilt with strict standards: poll

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Jersey Shore, where hundreds of homes were swept away or damaged in Superstorm Sandy, should be rebuilt, but with new, stricter building codes to protect against future storms, a poll of New Jersey voters said on Tuesday.

If given the choice, voters said the state government in Trenton, rather than local governments, should pay for the recovery, including rebuilding beach front boardwalks, according to the poll by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

While nearly two-thirds said Sandy and other large storms were the result of global climate change, New Jersey voters were divided when asked if the burning of fossil fuels was the main cause of climate change.

"Rebuilding will take a few years, most New Jerseyans agree," said Quinnipiac's Maurice Carroll. "Voters throughout the state think Trenton should help pay to restore the boardwalks and they'd like Trenton, not local communities, to pick up the overall bill."

Seven in 10 New Jersey voters favored rebuilding the Jersey Shore under stricter building codes, including three-quarters of shore residents. Only 18 percent said owners should be allowed to build with no changes to building codes and 9 percent said there should be no rebuilding.

The poll also found enormous support for Republican Governor Chris Christie's handling of the crisis, with more than 95 percent of voters saying Christie did an "excellent" or "good" job.

New Jersey has put a preliminary $29.4 billion price tag on recovery from the October 29 storm that raked the Northeast. Recover in New York was estimated to cost $32.8 billion.

The survey of 1,664 registered voters was conducted from November 19 to November 25, and had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

(Reporting By Edith Honan; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Jackie Frank)

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