Consolidating Government: Marist Poll of New Yorkers

This morning brings us an interesting discussion of government consolidation from Marist, who post the results of their poll:

4/12: “Striking a Balance” | Home of the Marist Poll: Pebbles and Pundits.

What this poll seems to do a good job of is testing for semantic variation: how people react to different phrases that mean the same things:

  • 68% of New Yorkers have a positive impression of the term shared services.  60% have a similar reaction to government consolidation, and 58% say the same about merged services.  52% of New Yorkers have a positive impression of regionalism.  However, dissolving local government is perceived positively by 31%.
  • There is no consensus about the definition of consolidation.  Half of residents describe consolidation asshared services while 44% define it as merged government.
  • Pluralities of New Yorkers expect government consolidation to decrease costs (48%) and increase efficiency (45%).

It seems as though the tightening of belts has New Yorkers thinking about the issue of the huge number of governments in New York State. But the last time a consolidation measure came up for a vote in our area, it was overturned: Macedon Township and the Village of Macedon opted not to combine.

Its hard to give up on local government, too: here in East Rochester, I can meet the mayor at the local carnival and there isn’t even a line. Do I really want to give that kind of access up for cost savings? The answers are less distinct than people who live in larger communities might imagine.