LIers have mixed feelings about the casino plan and also weigh in on the 2024 election and housing. NewsdayTV's Virginia Huie reports. Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp; File Footage

It’s a dead heat when it comes to Long Islanders’ opinions on the idea of building a casino at the Nassau Coliseum, according to a new Newsday/Siena College poll.

The poll found that 46% of those surveyed on the Island favored the casino, which has been proposed by Las Vegas Sands, and 46% opposed it. Nassau voters showed slight opposition, while Suffolk County voters slightly favored.

That was just one of the findings of the survey of Long Island voters Siena conducted in conjunction with Newsday.

Among other results, voters strongly oppose paying more in electric bills to help fund wind power or paying a higher toll for driving into Manhattan to encourage use of mass transit.

More so than the rest of New York State, they say antisemitism is increasing a great deal, but Islamophobia is rising, too. They believe crime in their own communities stayed level since last year, but worsened statewide. Long Islanders also view the influx of migrants more negatively than statewide residents as a whole.

And while they support the idea of allowing “granny apartments” to be added to single-family homes, they are split on boosting multifamily housing.

Siena surveyed 505 registered Long Island voters from Nov. 12-16. Results have a margin of error of plus-or-minus 6.1 percentage points, meaning each answer could be that much higher or lower.

Here are some of the noteworthy findings.

Las Vegas Sands has plans to bid for one of three downstate casino licenses, hoping to put the facility at the coliseum site in Uniondale near Hofstra University. A state gambling board could make a decision next year, though the competition for licenses is stiff.

Asked if they support the casino plan, 49% of Nassau residents opposed it; 42% supported it. Suffolk voters were almost the exact opposite: 49% favored, 43% opposed.

“I think it is already such a congested area and … there’s all the other [negatives] that come with a casino … — plus you have two colleges right there,” said Marie Martin, 85, of Freeport, referring to Hofstra and Nassau Community College.

There wasn’t much variation on casino support when broken into subgroups. Males slightly favored the proposal, 47%-44%, while females were slightly opposed, 49%-46%. White voters slightly favored it, 48%-45%, while other voters opposed, 48%-41%.

The one noticeable breakdown was by age. Those ages 18-34 supported it, 50%-44%; and those 35-54 supported it even more, 53%-37%. But those 55 and older opposed it, 53%-39%.

Fred Bock, 67, of North Babylon, said he’s fine with the proposal though skeptical about how much money it would generate for taxpayers.

“Maybe it will give some people pleasure to go there,” Bock said. “It’s going to be a big joke, but let them create jobs and what not, and maybe some of the money will go back to the taxpayers. But I doubt it.”

Don Levy, director of the Siena Research Institute, said previous statewide polls have shown general support for casinos usually tops opposition. But those surveys didn’t involve asking about a specific site, such as the Nassau Coliseum.

By almost a 2-1 ratio (63%-33%), voters opposed paying more in electric bills to help fund wind power development.

This comes just six weeks after a state board rejected a request by wind companies, with projects planned off Long Island, to adjust contracts to raise how much they can charge for power. Several other Northeast states made similar decisions in recent months.

Robert Brasacchio said his opposition boils down to one reason: “Money.”

“Times are tight. You got to pinch every penny to live on Long Island,” said Brasacchio, 52, of Mineola. “If I was a millionaire, that’s one thing. Sometimes you got to choose between being green or surviving.”

In contrast, Amanda Kramer said she’d “absolutely” pay extra to help spark wind power development because it’s an investment in the future.

“It’s sustainable. And in the end, I’d rather pay for wind than gas. I’m paying either way, so I’d rather pay for something that’s sustainable,” said Kramer, 30, of Amityville.

Levy noted that Islanders, in a separate question, agreed by a 2-1 ratio that human activities are causing climate change and the effects are “likely to be catastrophic.”

So they are worried about climate change, “But when you put in that small surcharge [for wind power], it changes results a great deal,” Levy said.

To no surprise, Islanders overwhelmingly continue to oppose “congestion pricing” — a proposal to charge higher tolls to drive into Manhattan's central business district and encourage greater mass transit use. The poll found 73% opposed congestion pricing; 22% supported it.

The poll found a clear majority believe that crime in their own community has stayed about the same over the last year, but that crime statewide has gotten worse.

For instance, asked about crime in “your community,” 55% said it has stayed level; 34% said it has turned worse; 10% said it’s improved.

But asked about statewide trends, 60% said it has become worse over the last year, while 26% said it is level and 10% said it has improved.

This comes despite new figures showing homicides, shootings and other violent crimes generally have declined in 2023 compared with 2022. Some crimes, such as larcenies and car thefts, have increased.

Levy said there tends to be a dynamic of people thinking “everything is going to hell in a handbasket,” but here “it’s no so bad.”

“Long Island is demonstrating that dynamic more so than the state as a whole,” Levy said.

He pointed to the contrasts: Islanders have a more positive view of crime issues in their neighborhood (just 34% said it’s getting worse) than other state residents (40%). Yet they have a more negative view of the statewide scene (60% of Islanders said crime statewide is getting worse) than other New Yorkers (53%).

“I think it’s gotten better here,” Martin said. “They’ve enlarged the police force. They’re all over.”

Asked to choose the bigger problem right now, 43% of Long Islanders said high property taxes, while 33% said affordable housing or rent.

When asked how to address affordable housing, 61% said build more single-family houses, 17% said multifamily apartments and 13% said both.

But notably, they were almost split when asked solely about multifamily apartments: 46% support, 48% opposed. When asked about adding an apartment to a single-family home — so-called granny flats or mother-in-law apartments — 55% supported it, while just 26% opposed.

Levy said concerns about antisemitism are “more pronounced on Long Island” than in statewide results. Concerns about Islamophobia are high, too, but in line with statewide averages.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, 81% of Islanders surveyed believe Jews are experiencing some degree of antisemitism compared with 73% statewide. Also, 81% said antisemitism has increased since the attacks, compared with 75% statewide.

Among Islanders, 64% said Muslims are experiencing Islamophobia compared with 62% statewide.

Democrat President Joe Biden’s numbers lag on the Island (37% favorable ratings) compared with the rest of the state (44%).

Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, fares better on Long Island (44%) than statewide (34%). Island Republicans, asked if they’d favor Trump or someone else for the party nomination, picked Trump, 68%-26%.

Democrats, however, were split — 48%-48% — on whether they’d prefer Biden or another Democrat.

In a prospective head-to-head match, Biden does better statewide than on Long Island. Statewide, voters picked Biden, 46%- 36%. On the Island, it’s Trump, 48%-38%.

Levy said the numbers show “Long Island is a little more anti-migrant” than the state as a whole.

For instance, 56% of Islanders said migrants settling in New York over the last 20 years have been a “burden,” while 48% agreed statewide.

Also, 72% of Islanders agreed with the statement that “New Yorkers have already done enough” and now should “slow the flow” of migrants, whereas 64% statewide said so.

It’s a dead heat when it comes to Long Islanders’ opinions on the idea of building a casino at the Nassau Coliseum, according to a new Newsday/Siena College poll.

The poll found that 46% of those surveyed on the Island favored the casino, which has been proposed by Las Vegas Sands, and 46% opposed it. Nassau voters showed slight opposition, while Suffolk County voters slightly favored.

That was just one of the findings of the survey of Long Island voters Siena conducted in conjunction with Newsday.

Among other results, voters strongly oppose paying more in electric bills to help fund wind power or paying a higher toll for driving into Manhattan to encourage use of mass transit.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Long Islanders are evenly divided over the idea of building a casino at the former Nassau Coliseum, according to a new Newsday/Siena College poll.
  • Voters strongly oppose paying more in electric bills to help fund wind power or paying a higher toll for driving into Manhattan to encourage use of mass transit.
  • More so than the rest of New York state, they also say antisemitism increased a great deal after the Hamas attack on Israel, but Islamophobia is rising, too.

More so than the rest of New York State, they say antisemitism is increasing a great deal, but Islamophobia is rising, too. They believe crime in their own communities stayed level since last year, but worsened statewide. Long Islanders also view the influx of migrants more negatively than statewide residents as a whole.

And while they support the idea of allowing “granny apartments” to be added to single-family homes, they are split on boosting multifamily housing.

Siena surveyed 505 registered Long Island voters from Nov. 12-16. Results have a margin of error of plus-or-minus 6.1 percentage points, meaning each answer could be that much higher or lower.

Here are some of the noteworthy findings.

Casino split

Las Vegas Sands has plans to bid for one of three downstate casino licenses, hoping to put the facility at the coliseum site in Uniondale near Hofstra University. A state gambling board could make a decision next year, though the competition for licenses is stiff.

Asked if they support the casino plan, 49% of Nassau residents opposed it; 42% supported it. Suffolk voters were almost the exact opposite: 49% favored, 43% opposed.

“I think it is already such a congested area and … there’s all the other [negatives] that come with a casino … — plus you have two colleges right there,” said Marie Martin, 85, of Freeport, referring to Hofstra and Nassau Community College.

There wasn’t much variation on casino support when broken into subgroups. Males slightly favored the proposal, 47%-44%, while females were slightly opposed, 49%-46%. White voters slightly favored it, 48%-45%, while other voters opposed, 48%-41%.

The one noticeable breakdown was by age. Those ages 18-34 supported it, 50%-44%; and those 35-54 supported it even more, 53%-37%. But those 55 and older opposed it, 53%-39%.

Fred Bock, 67, of North Babylon, said he’s fine with the proposal though skeptical about how much money it would generate for taxpayers.

“Maybe it will give some people pleasure to go there,” Bock said. “It’s going to be a big joke, but let them create jobs and what not, and maybe some of the money will go back to the taxpayers. But I doubt it.”

Don Levy, director of the Siena Research Institute, said previous statewide polls have shown general support for casinos usually tops opposition. But those surveys didn’t involve asking about a specific site, such as the Nassau Coliseum.

No to wind, congestion pricing

By almost a 2-1 ratio (63%-33%), voters opposed paying more in electric bills to help fund wind power development.

This comes just six weeks after a state board rejected a request by wind companies, with projects planned off Long Island, to adjust contracts to raise how much they can charge for power. Several other Northeast states made similar decisions in recent months.

Robert Brasacchio said his opposition boils down to one reason: “Money.”

“Times are tight. You got to pinch every penny to live on Long Island,” said Brasacchio, 52, of Mineola. “If I was a millionaire, that’s one thing. Sometimes you got to choose between being green or surviving.”

In contrast, Amanda Kramer said she’d “absolutely” pay extra to help spark wind power development because it’s an investment in the future.

“It’s sustainable. And in the end, I’d rather pay for wind than gas. I’m paying either way, so I’d rather pay for something that’s sustainable,” said Kramer, 30, of Amityville.

Levy noted that Islanders, in a separate question, agreed by a 2-1 ratio that human activities are causing climate change and the effects are “likely to be catastrophic.”

So they are worried about climate change, “But when you put in that small surcharge [for wind power], it changes results a great deal,” Levy said.

To no surprise, Islanders overwhelmingly continue to oppose “congestion pricing” — a proposal to charge higher tolls to drive into Manhattan's central business district and encourage greater mass transit use. The poll found 73% opposed congestion pricing; 22% supported it.

Safer at home, not elsewhere

The poll found a clear majority believe that crime in their own community has stayed about the same over the last year, but that crime statewide has gotten worse.

For instance, asked about crime in “your community,” 55% said it has stayed level; 34% said it has turned worse; 10% said it’s improved.

But asked about statewide trends, 60% said it has become worse over the last year, while 26% said it is level and 10% said it has improved.

This comes despite new figures showing homicides, shootings and other violent crimes generally have declined in 2023 compared with 2022. Some crimes, such as larcenies and car thefts, have increased.

Levy said there tends to be a dynamic of people thinking “everything is going to hell in a handbasket,” but here “it’s no so bad.”

“Long Island is demonstrating that dynamic more so than the state as a whole,” Levy said.

He pointed to the contrasts: Islanders have a more positive view of crime issues in their neighborhood (just 34% said it’s getting worse) than other state residents (40%). Yet they have a more negative view of the statewide scene (60% of Islanders said crime statewide is getting worse) than other New Yorkers (53%).

“I think it’s gotten better here,” Martin said. “They’ve enlarged the police force. They’re all over.”

Housing mix

Asked to choose the bigger problem right now, 43% of Long Islanders said high property taxes, while 33% said affordable housing or rent.

When asked how to address affordable housing, 61% said build more single-family houses, 17% said multifamily apartments and 13% said both.

But notably, they were almost split when asked solely about multifamily apartments: 46% support, 48% opposed. When asked about adding an apartment to a single-family home — so-called granny flats or mother-in-law apartments — 55% supported it, while just 26% opposed.

Antisemitism & Islamophobia

Levy said concerns about antisemitism are “more pronounced on Long Island” than in statewide results. Concerns about Islamophobia are high, too, but in line with statewide averages.

Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel, 81% of Islanders surveyed believe Jews are experiencing some degree of antisemitism compared with 73% statewide. Also, 81% said antisemitism has increased since the attacks, compared with 75% statewide.

Among Islanders, 64% said Muslims are experiencing Islamophobia compared with 62% statewide.

Presidential politics

Democrat President Joe Biden’s numbers lag on the Island (37% favorable ratings) compared with the rest of the state (44%).

Former President Donald Trump, a Republican, fares better on Long Island (44%) than statewide (34%). Island Republicans, asked if they’d favor Trump or someone else for the party nomination, picked Trump, 68%-26%.

Democrats, however, were split — 48%-48% — on whether they’d prefer Biden or another Democrat.

In a prospective head-to-head match, Biden does better statewide than on Long Island. Statewide, voters picked Biden, 46%- 36%. On the Island, it’s Trump, 48%-38%.

No to migrants

Levy said the numbers show “Long Island is a little more anti-migrant” than the state as a whole.

For instance, 56% of Islanders said migrants settling in New York over the last 20 years have been a “burden,” while 48% agreed statewide.

Also, 72% of Islanders agreed with the statement that “New Yorkers have already done enough” and now should “slow the flow” of migrants, whereas 64% statewide said so.

A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Newsday Staff

Updated 13 minutes ago A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports.

A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports. Credit: Newsday Staff

Updated 13 minutes ago A Newsday analysis shows the number of referees and umpires has declined 25.2% in Nassau and 18.1% in Suffolk since 2011-12. Officials and administrators say the main reason is spectator behavior. NewsdayTV's Carissa Kellman reports.

Latest videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME