| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – According to a comparison of polls taken in 2010 and in 2018, people have changed their opinion about the city of Springfield and for the better.
The Western New England University Polling Institute released the results of a poll it conducted in April which indicated people are looking more postively at the City of Homes.
Those who are in favor of the the presence of MGM Springfield are the most likely to see the city in a better light.
According to information released on May 1 by the Polling Institute, “The Polling Institute asked many of the same questions in a survey of Springfield residents in February 2010, allowing for comparisons over time. On several of the metrics, residents’ views of the city have shifted in a positive direction from 2010 to 2018. Ratings for the city as a place to live improved from 2010 to 2018, as did the assessment of how well the city is doing in combatting crime. Residents also were more likely to say the quality of life in Springfield has improved over the past five years in the 2018 survey compared to respondents in the 2010 survey. Assessments of the city’s neighborhoods as places to live, and the quality of the city’s public schools, did not change significantly from 2010 to 2018.”
Fifty-nine percent of the 853 adults polled “expect Springfield’s economy to be much better or somewhat better five years from now. Twenty-seven percent predicted the local economy would stay about the same, while nine percent said the economy would get somewhat or much worse.”
The poll revealed, “Levels of optimism were highest among survey respondents who said they support plans for MGM Resorts International’s casino, hotel, and restaurants. The survey found that 61 percent of residents back the casino project, while 26 percent are opposed. Among casino supporters, 67 percent said they expect the local economy to be much better or somewhat better five years from now, while 26 percent said it would stay the same and four percent said it would get somewhat worse. Among casino opponents, only 40 percent said they expect the local economy to get much or somewhat better in the next five years, while 33 percent said it would stay the same and 21 percent said it would get somewhat or much worse.”
Tim Vercellotti, director of the Polling Institute and a professor of political science at Western New England University, said, “The data show that a growing percentage of residents view Springfield in positive terms, and they are optimistic about the city’s economic future.”
The poll reported, “Men were more likely than women to rate the city as an excellent or good place to live by a margin of 60 percent to 53 percent. Sixty percent of Hispanic residents rated the city as excellent or good, as did 58 percent of White Non-Hispanic residents and 49 percent of Black Non-Hispanic residents. The percent giving a positive rating increased with age, with 62 percent of residents ages 65 and older describing the city as an excellent or good place to live, compared to 53 percent of those ages 18 to 39. Positive ratings also increased with education level, with 67 percent of college graduates rating the city as excellent or good, compared to 51 percent of those with a high school diploma or less.”