The latest Siena College poll - released a few days ago as I continue to lag unacceptably behind in posting - shows that New Yorkers still support expanded casino gaming, though not by all that much, especially compared to support for other of Governor Cuomo's initiatives.
The poll found that the governor’s plans to create a commission for teacher evaluation and improvement holds the broadest support – about 82 percentage points.Not overwhelming, but at least it fared better than the ridiculous convention center at Aqueduct, which the poll respondents correctly read through. (Or did they? The governor is probably correct in his contention that respondents presumed that the government was going to pay for it.)
Similarly, Cuomo’s call for an overhaul of campaign-finance laws is favored by a margin of 74 percent to 20 percent.
Private investment in return for the rebuilding of infrastructure also polls well, with 73 percent support the notion.
Expanding casino gambling in New York is more lukewarm, but still has a majority of support, by with 53 percent to 42 percent backing a constitutional amendment. [Capital Tonight]
The New York Gaming Association responded with a statement reaffirming that "once again that a majority of New Yorkers support of enhanced casino gaming."
The New York Gaming Association continues to advocate on behalf of the state’s nine racetrack casinos for enhanced gaming in a socially responsible and economically sensible manner.And there's that now familiar "socially responsible" theme that we'll be hearing ad nauseum from this group. And everytime I hear it, I'll call it out for the BS that it is. If slots offered from 8AM until 4AM seven days a week is somehow 'socially responsible,' that what exactly constitutes irresponsibility? Casino games offered online? Well, that's another matter for another time.
What I found really surprising about the poll results, at least initially, was the breakdown by political party affiliation. Democrats narrowly favored expanded gaming by 49% to 46%. However, Republicans support the idea by a margin of 58-36! Huh? How can that be? The party of family values, marriage between a man and a woman (or women?), and in general imposing their ideas of morality upon all of us, in favor of casino gambling, and overwhelmingly?
However, after thinking about it a bit more, it all makes perfect sense. For one thing, it's an easy answer for a party that looks to cut budget deficits while slashing taxes for high income earners. Whatsmore, the notion of big corporations enriching their wealthy owners and shareholders via an activity as similar to a highly regressive tax as unfettered gambling is surely quite appealing to the GOP. Y'know, we see those scenes in casino ads of affluent-looking types whooping it up all the time, but the reality that I've seen in my limited time spent walking through them (on the way to gamble at the track) is quite different. Sure looks like strictly a working class activity to me. I dunno, maybe the rich folks come out on Saturday nights.
Speaking of rich folks, boy, was I wrong a few weeks ago when I virtually counted Mitt Romney out. Sure, he's in trouble in South Carolina, badgered by negative ads and by the fallout of his own unwise words and actions (or inaction, as in the refusal to release his taxes. Man, I can't wait to see what's in there if he ever gets around to it). But the lunatic fringe vote is split between Newt and Rick Santorum, and his organization and money bodes extremely well for primaries and caucuses ahead. In any case, we'll sure be seeing a lot of this clip in which he casually dismisses with a laugh his income from speaking engagements - said to be some $374,327.62 - as "not very much." Watch:
As I've said before, the Occupy movements have brought the issue of income inequality squarely into the forefront, and this guy, with his millions and his 15% tax rate and his "you wanna bet $10,000" and his dismissive attitude towards a sum of money that would make most all of us extremely happy, is just out of step. What's more, he's shown on more than one occasion that he can't take the heat. The other GOP candidates may be nuts, but this guy is a clown who is sure to make big mistakes once he gets on the big stage with an incumbent who may have a flawed record, but who is unlikely to beat himself.
Yeah yeah, I'll write about some horse racing soon.