Democrats in the City of Syracuse are just two weeks away from deciding who they want as their mayoral candidate. This fall, the entire city gets to choose its leader. Against that backdrop comes an exclusive YNN-Siena College poll taking a look at how Syracusans view their city and its government. YNN's Bill Carey takes a closer look at some of the numbers.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The question was simple: What type of job does city government do in responding to people's needs? A majority says the city only does a fair or poor job. There is even less happiness with the job being done by city schools.
"Not up to par. Definitely not. They have lower standards. So I think that might be the reason," said Syracuse resident Kayla MConnell.
Seven out of 10 people responding to the YNN-Siena College poll rated the job done in local schools as fair or poor. Only 19 percent gave the schools a good or excellent grade.
If there was a surprise, it dealt with city police services. It's an area that often generates controversy in a city where concerns about safety are high.
Syracuse resident Kevin Gause said, "They get very aggressive, when there's no need to, and then they take other matters in their own hands."
But when voters were polled a majority said police were doing a good or excellent job of keeping people safe. Despite concerns voiced about specific city services, overall, the people responding to the poll said the city is moving in the right direction.
But a look behind the overall numbers shows a partisan divide. While, overall, voters give a slight edge to movement in the right direction, those numbers are powered by democrats, who rate the city's direction positively by a healthy margin. The numbers are nearly reversed when republicans answer the same question. And, fittingly, those listing themselves as Independents, are almost evenly split.
There is hope among voters than better days are coming.
McConnell said, "They're re-doing all the old buildings and I see, in the next five to 10 years, you're going to see a big difference in downtown."
For some, the goal is creation of jobs that will keep younger people at home and even attract some of the thousands of college students passing through.
Austin Gardner is a senior industrial design student at Syracuse University. He lives in Armory Square while attending class. Like many of his fellow students, though, once he has a diploma in hand, he will probably be gone.
"You have to, like, find a lot of different design firms, so, like Boston or something like that are more ideal," Gardner said.
There is hope, but another question in the survey asked about job prospects. How people rate the ability to find a suitable job. On that score, any optimism seems to fade away.