Internal Poll Has Rosy Outlook For Slots Supporters
Slots advocates in Maryland have been buoyed by a new internal poll showing 63 percent of likely voters supporting November's referendum, with 34 percent saying they would vote against it and only 3 percent undecided.
The results are summarized in a June 3 memorandum from pollster Frederick S. Yang to the ballot-issue committee, For Maryland For Our Future, which is leading the charge to legalize up to 15,000 slot machines in the state.
The findings by the GarinHartYang Research Group are more rosy for slots proponents than those from an independent poll released in January by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies. That poll found 54 percent of regular voters saying they would vote for slots, 38 percent saying they would vote against legalizing the machines and 8 percent undecided.
Laslo V. Boyd, a partner with Gonzales, said several factors could explain the different results, including polling methodology and an economy that has deteriorated since January. Slots supporters are pitching revenue from the machines as a means to balance the state budget.
Boyd said he "wouldn't rule out the possibility things have changed" but cautioned against reading too much into poll results this far from the November election. In several other states, support for gambling initiatives has deteriorated in the past as the vote approached.
Yang's memo says that the low number of undecideds suggests "an electorate that essentially has made up its mind of this high-profile issue."
According to his poll, support for slots is nearly identical in the Washington and Baltimore media markets, among white and black voters and among Democrats and Republicans.
The poll of 803 likely Maryland voters was conducted between May 19 and 21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, according to Yang's memo.
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