The wording of a constitutional amendment allowing non-Native American live-table casinos into New York will likely have an impact on whether it is approved this fall, according to a poll released today by the Siena Research Institute.
Read the complete poll results on the Capital Region Scene blog.
Asked simply whether they support allowing seven casinos into the state, New Yorkers are divided on the issue, with 46 percent against and 46 percent in favor. But when the question is asked the way it will appear on the ballot this fall, which frames the issue as a job creator, source of education aid and a way to lower property taxes, support increases by nine percentage points to a 55 percent majority of voters.
“Clearly, the wording on the ballot for the casino amendment matters," said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg in a statement. "When voters are asked a generic casino gambling amendment question they are evenly divided, with New York City voters opposed and downstate suburban voters and upstaters mildly supportive."
"However, when voters were provided the specific wording they will see on the ballot, a majority of voters from every region and from every party say ‘yes,’ they would approve the casino amendment," Greenberg added.
The rosy language of the amendment, which was drafted by the state Board of Elections with input from Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration, has been heavily criticized by good government groups. Describing the amendment's shading, New York Public Interest Research Group Blair Horner previously said, "It has more spin than a roulette wheel."
According to the poll, a slim plurality of upstate voters, 49 percent to 43 percent, supported casino amendment without the positive wording. Support among upstate voters increased by six percentage points with the favorable language in the amendment.
Greenberg noted that the wording is viewed as fair by a small majority of voters. "But it largely depends on whether voters support or oppose the amendment," he said. "More than two-thirds of amendment supporters say the wording is fair, while two-thirds of opponents say it is not."
If approved, the amendment would pave the way for the first round of four upstate casinos, which was laid out in a plan introduced by Cuomo and approved this year by the state Legislature. The Capital Region, Southern Tier and Catskills would each get at least one casino under the plan.
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