Taylor Ham vs. pork roll: Poll shows NJ almost evenly split on what to call it
The pork roll vs. Taylor Ham debate is nothing new in the Garden State, and according to a new poll, New Jerseyans seem to be evenly split on what to call the beloved meat product that's become a breakfast sandwich staple.
In general, you can tell whether someone is from the northern or southern part of the state based on whether they refer to the pork-based product as Taylor Ham or pork roll, according to a December 2015 Rutgers-Eagleton poll.
The poll shows that 35 percent of New Jersey residents call the product “Taylor Ham,” while 38 percent insist it is called “pork roll," Rutgers-Eagleton announced Tuesday. In addition, the poll shows that 13 percent of New Jerseyans don't use either name for the product.
Rutgers also found that statewide, 2 percent of people polled use pork roll and Taylor ham interchangeably and 12 percent aren't really sure what they usually call it. Then there's the north versus south split. In the state's own pork-based "civil war," 59 percent of northern New Jerseyans order Taylor Ham, while 65 percent of people in the southern part of the state like to have pork roll on their egg and cheese sandwiches.
Speaking of the classic Jersey pork roll/Taylor Ham, egg and cheese sandwich, this isn't just a regional debate over breakfast food. The issue has made its way to the Legislature. Democratic Assemblyman Tim Eustace has drafted two separate bills: one awarding the title of official state sandwich to pork roll, egg and cheese, and another designating Taylor Ham, egg and cheese as the proper name.
In fact, Eustace is leaving it up to voters to decide which name should be official and he's developed an online survey devoted to the issue.
But Rutgers-Eagleton didn't leave out Central Jersey (if you believe such a place exists) when they conducted the poll in December. According to a press release from the university's polling center, 25 percent of "self-identified Central Jerseyans" call the product Taylor Ham, while 45 percent took South Jersey's side of the issue, calling it pork roll.
Ashley Koning, the assistant director of the Rutgers-Eagleton Poll says there's "a lot of Taylor Ham influence" in Central Jersey, but said the North/South divide is pretty prominent on the issue.
"There's a huge divide that we see in the state....this has been kind of an age-old divide especially with such a uniquely Jersey issue," Koning said.
The number of years one has been a resident of the great Garden State also affects views on the food item, according to Rutgers. People who have lived in the state longer tend to take more of a stand on whether they refer to the product as Taylor Ham or pork roll.
"This is one of those tough battles with a lot history and a lot of lore and legend about what exactly what it all means and we also found that the longer you live here, the more you actually take a side in this debate," Koning said.
Results are from a statewide poll of 843 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones between Nov. 30 and Dec. 6, 2015. The sample has a margin of error of +/-3.8 percentage points, according to Rutgers.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.