SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. -- Here's the real situation: It turns out MTV's "Jersey Shore" isn't killing New Jersey's reputation after all.
A nationwide poll finds the reality show about a group of hard-drinking, foul-mouthed 20-somethings at a beach house in Seaside Heights may even be helping a bit by bringing attention to the real Jersey shore.
The Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll, released yesterday, found that the series is drawing attention to the state's 127 miles of beaches and generating positive buzz for the Garden State.
"The show may be promoting one of the state's best features -- not Snooki, but the shore itself," said Peter Woolley, director of the poll. "It seems to me viewers are looking past The Situation to the shore scene itself."
The poll found that 43 percent of those who have seen the show have a favorable opinion of New Jersey, while 41 percent who've never seen it also think New Jersey is great.
Michelle Diaz of Philadelphia was strolling the Seaside Heights boardwalk Friday with friends when they happened upon Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino during a break from that day's taping of the show.
"A lot of people from other states think Jersey is trashy, but when you come here, it's a totally different scene," she said.
"It's a really beautiful beach here," added Patricia Garcia, also of Philadelphia. "We love it here." They engaged Sorrentino in a brief conversation.
The poll of 711 adults was conducted by telephone March 21to 27. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. -- AP