Well, only a week left until Election Day, and despite the raft of negative publicity and editorials, the outcome of the casino referendum seems clear. At least, according to the state-wide polls.....and at least when presented with the advocacy language that will appear on the ballot. Which is what they're gonna see. Now a NY Times - Siena College poll of NYC voters - home to about 40 percent of the state’s registered voters - paints a similar story.
The poll quoted the Nov. 5 ballot language, which lists only positive arguments for allowing casinos, such as promoting job growth and increasing education funding. After hearing that language, six in 10 likely voters said they would vote yes.That's actually more support than the rest of the state - the last state-wide Siena poll had 55 percent in favor and 42 percent against. Of course, the same city voters polled against casinos located in the city. But they don't have to be concerned with that for the foreseeable future; seven years, or so we are told. So, they don't really have to think about any actual casinos in town, so, hey, sure, job growth, education, why the hell not? It's just another insidious aspect to this whole sordid process that a population that is detached from the debate, and from the possible negative consequences (which are not mentioned on the ballot) of local casinos, would have such an outsized effect on the fate of the measure.
“That is a strong margin of victory for the gambling amendment,” said Steven A. Greenberg, a Siena College pollster. “If support is 60 percent in New York City, I am hard pressed to see how it could fail statewide.” [NY Times]
Well, this sucks. I imagine we'll see more in the way of newspaper editorials against the measure as the vote approaches. But the main wave of negative news over the language and the lawsuit seems to have passed. In truth, this matter was over (if it indeed is) as soon as Eric Snyder's suit was thrown out. And considering the statute of limitations which ultimately made the suit moot, the jig really was up when the language was altered behind closed doors, no doubt at behest of the governor's mansion. This race was fixed. No doubt about that. I'll review the whole miserable tale at some point, but we really need to get to some Breeders' Cup races. So, I'm gonna work on that.
Just a couple more points first. About Cuomo. For one thing, we still haven't heard a peep out of him in support of the casinos. So I'm pretty sure I was correct in my original suspicion that he planted that story with Dicker, about some "secret" poll showing the measure in trouble, in order to get pro-gambling groups to spend money on advertising. The latest is a mailer from NY Jobs Now (which drew criticism for not disclosing the money behind it) If this thing was really in trouble, you can bet he'd be out there.
One thing he did talk about recently was Aqueduct. When prompted on the topic by the NY Daily News (long an ignorant editorial voice to shutter the racetrack), Cuomo said: “It’s been a waste.” So says the man who took control of the tracks, recited lofty words about how concerned he is about the animals and about the importance of the industry to the state. As we well know, he has never once deigned to set foot inside any of the tracks. And now, he tells all the hard-working horsemen and track employees that their efforts, their literal blood, sweat, and tears providing livelihoods and generating ample revenue for the state was "a waste." I'm sure that's not (exactly) what he meant. But one might expect that he would at least put a few seconds of thought into what he says. It's enough to make me want to sign off with just two short words directed towards His Highness. The same two he tells this industry on a regular basis.
“You could do anything at Aqueduct. I mean, you’re right at the airport. It’s a great piece of property. It’s one of the largest pieces of property, probably, in the city of New York."I'm sure our governor knows exactly what is right for this great, large piece of property, which opens for racing, to continue what is no doubt the countdown to its demise, on Friday. Without the long-promised new simulcast bar, now, I'm told, put off to an indefinite date in 2014. Thanks for your help with that, Mr. Cuomo.