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Casino support depends on how you ask

A video slot machine at the Resorts World

A video slot machine at the Resorts World Casino New York City that opened in 2011. (Oct. 28, 2011) Credit: Resorts World Casino

Do New York voters support casinos? Depends greatly on how you ask.

In a poll released Monday, Siena College says when it asked voters whether they favored a constitutional amendment to allow up to seven non-Indian-run casinos in New York, they were evenly divided, 46 percent to 46 percent.

But, when callers read the actual, rosy wording of the ballot question voters will see in November -- “casinos .?.?. for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools and permitting local government to lower property taxes” -- then, voilà! voters favored casinos 55 percent to 42 percent.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers overwhelmingly back casino expansion. Backers, to this point, have taken a below-the-radar-approach to the controversial amendment, apparently determining that quiet is better for them.

Cuomo is sensitive to how poll questions are phrased. Back in 2012, when the governor was promoting building the "world's largest convention center" at Aqueduct racetrack and polls showed public opposition, Cuomo criticized the wording of the question.


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