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April 19, 2014
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Poll: gaming proposition language an issue


LOUDONVILLE, NY — According to a new poll from Siena College, New York voter support for Proposition One, which would allow for the creation of a limited number of casinos in the state, will be influenced by the language of the proposition.

A press release from Siena says that when New York voters are asked if they, “support or oppose passing an amendment to the state constitution to allow non-Indian, Las Vegas style casinos to be built in New York,” they are just about evenly divided on the question at 46% pro, 46% con, which is a decrease in support from last month.

But when the language of the proposition is used and voters are asked if they would vote to, “allow the legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated,” the numbers change rather dramatically with 55% saying they would vote yes and 42% saying they would vote no.

The poll result tends to buttress the complaint by gaming opponents that the wording of the proposition was deliberately manipulated by Albany officials to get the result they desire: a yes vote on Proposition One.

A majority of voters, 51 percent, says the language on the ballot for the proposed amendment is fair—“it describes the amendment, highlighting the benefits for New Yorkers”—while 43 percent say it is unfair—“it only includes arguments in support, ignoring arguments in opposition.”

“Clearly, the wording on the ballot for the casino amendment matters. 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,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg.

Largest plurality ever says no to fracking

In the same poll, the results of which were released on September 30, voters were asked about support for hydraulic fracturing or fracking.

Greenberg said, “45% of voters oppose fracking and 37% support it, up from 42-41% opposition last month, the largest anti-fracking sentiment ever in a Siena College poll.” He added, “A majority of upstaters and Democrats, and a plurality of independents and New York City voters oppose fracking, which is supported by a plurality of Republicans and downstate suburbanites. Men narrowly support it; women more strongly oppose it.”

Environmental groups took the opportunity to repeat their messages. Katherine Nadeau, policy director of Environmental Advocates of New York, issued this statement: “No matter how much money the industry funnels through its propaganda machine, upstate New Yorkers cannot be manipulated into believing that fracking is some sort of silver bullet. By one of the widest margins yet, upstate residents oppose fracking by a lopsided 52-34 percent. The fracking industry has attempted to bully and coerce the state into fracking every step of the way, but their tactics have alienated the very people who would be impacted by their drilling.”