Poll: Miami-Dade On The Fence For Gambling, Gloomy About The Economy

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – South Florida voters are sitting straight on the fence on the issue of resort casino gambling, and is gloomy about the local economy, according to a poll done last week for CBS4, The Miami Herald, Univision and El Nuevo Herald.

The poll attacked the casino gambling issue and other recent controversies, including the naming of the Miami Art Museum for a top donor, a proposed texting ban, and the Miami-Dade economy. Pollster Bendixen & Amandi queried 400 registered voters for the poll, which was conducted over 3 days last week.

The poll found most of the people questioned had been paying attention to the destination casino debate, with almost 70 percent saying they had been following at least somewhat closely.

What pollsters found is that those responded were almost evenly divided on the issue, with 44% supporting the idea and 46% opposing it, and only 10% undecided. Within the margin of error, that’s a virtual dead heat.


Of those answering, those who identified themselves as Hispanic showed the greatest support for destination casinos, at 52%, but the issue was much more polarizing in the Black community. There, only 25% support the destination casino plan, with 65% saying “no, thanks”.

For supporters, it’s all about Jobs. 55% said they supported the idea because it will create jobs. 24% said they think destination casinos will help the economy.

On the other side of the fence, though, it was about social issues. 39% dislike the idea because they think it will hurt the quality of life, and 23% said they are simply opposed to gambling. 22% said they think the expanded casinos will being crime to South Florida.

Those reactions came when pollsters simply asked a basic question about destination casinos. In an effort to dig deeper, they presented additional positions from the sponsors of the casino plan, and asked participants their positions now that they knew more.

The answers remained a statistical dead heat, with supporters and opponents in a virtual deadlock.

Given that, it might be a surprise the learn what voters thought of proposals to expand current racino-type gambling to sites in Miami and Miami Beach. By a clear margin, poll participants supported the plan, 50% to 38%, with 12% still not sure. That could mean it may not be gambling that has people concerned, just how big a casino might be.


As part of the destination casino plan, a proposal has been floated to designate the Miami Herald building, which was sold to Genting, to be designated as an historic building. Poll participants didn’t think much of that plan, with just 35% supporting and 52% opposed.


When Jorge Perez agreed to donate $35 million to the Miami Museum of Art, which then said they would name themselves the Jorge M. Perez Art Museum of Miami Dade County, it seemed to generate an uproar, with some claiming the decision was inappropriate.

Poll respondents were asked about the controversy, and 71% promptly said they had’t been following it closely. Among those who had an opinion, only Hispanic participants has major support for the vote, with 50% saying it was a good idea. But, after polltakers explained the background for the issue, support seemed to evaporate. Overall, 33% said it was a good idea, with 54% saying it was a bad one.

Even hispanic voters rejected the name change, barely, but 56% of the anglo voters and 69% of Black voters shot the proposal down.


It’s no secret Miami-Dade has a struggling economy, with unemployment outpacing the state and the nation, and a still-weak real-estate market. The poll participants to share asked the most important problem facing Miami-Dade county, and 42% said “Unemployment and the weak economy”, with 21% saying “Corruption in County Government”, at 21%. Other problems didn’t come close.

In May 2011, the same question put “Corruption in County government” at the top, but with the same number of participants, at 22%. The Lack of Jobs was second, at 18%, and high property taxes was a close third.

The major change in economic issues could show voters are becoming discourages things are not improving faster.

Poll results seem to support that. When asked about their personal financial situation, only4% said they were doing a lot better than last year, and 12% said they were doing a little better, for an overall 16% seeing improvement.

Almost half, 42%, thought they were doing worse then last year, evenly divided between a little worse and a lot worse.

40% said they were holding the status quo; things were no better, no worse.

55% said they feel the local economy and availability of jobs is getting worse, and that feeling was strongest among black and Hispanic participants. 55% of Black voters said things were getting worse, but 65% of hispanic voters, Miami-Dade’s strongest voting block, held a negative view.


After looking at results where voters were confused, evenly divided, or clearly frustrated, it’s nice to find something almost everyone agrees on. The Florida Legislature is considering a law banning texting while driving, and on that, Miami-Dade county seems to agree.

A whopping 92% of those agreed, with 7% opposed and only 1% undecided. There is no truth to the rumor that the results had pollsters ROTFLOL.


Pollster Bendixen & Amandi conducted two polls in Miami-Dade County on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, for The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald, WFOR CBS 4 and Univision 23. One poll, about county charter amendments, queried 400 voters likely to participate in the GOP presidential primary. The other poll — about casino gambling, county politicians and county issues — queried 400 registered voters. Both had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.9 percentage points.

  • Me

    South Florida casino’s are criminal, especially Miccosukee. Slots are fun, but not when you are getting only a 1% payback instead of the 92% they say.

  • Jarvis Jones

    Before a new casino is built, there will be a vote. This is fair. Polling is kinda meaningless. Put it to a vote and it will either happen or not. I sure hope it does happen because I don’t see any other way to get us out of the mess we’re in.

  • Robert Walker

    I just conducted my own poll. I spoke to my neighbors here in the Grove and we all think the destination resort is a good idea. We all want a new place to go and the community needs an economic boost.

  • Susan Spector

    The destination resorts is without a doubt the best thing that could ever happen in our city. Only greedy, special interest groups oppose it. Let’s hope they get it right in Tallahassee because if they don’t they can all plan on going back to the private sector.

  • Maria Gomez

    Have any of the responders actually seen the intended project? Did the poll takers walk around with a picture? I don’t know anybody that doesn’t love this idea. Do we want stagnation in our community or progress? Pass the new laws and build the project. It’s good for Miami and good for Florida.

  • Chris Carlson

    We need to get off the fence and get the thing built. We need the jobs and we need the money. If some namby pambys don’t like it, let them close the Magic City Casino a mile down the road.

  • Manny Rodriquez

    A private company comes in and buys up urban blight and offers to spend billions of dollars to upgrade the area. This is a great thing. Us tax payers don’t have to shell out for it. It creates jobs. Sure, there is gambling but we already have that and the owners plan on bringing in tourists from around the world to support it. I don’t know why anybody who really looked at this would not like it and forget about the guys that say it spawns crime and will only create menial jobs. You are going to require genius to create that building and that doesn’t come cheap.

  • Paula Diaz

    I love the idea of such a big and beautiful resort at the foot of the causeway.
    It will make Miami the signature city in America. People need to learn more about what this project offers our city and when they do, I think they’ll demand it.

  • Vincent Sepalla

    A project that creates tens of thousands of new jobs is a good thing. We already have casinos so what is the fear? Certainly we’re not afraid of more jobs and a whole bunch of money being spent here. Bring it on!

  • James Watson

    I am looking forward to the new project. We need good restaurants again. That part of town has been dying for years. Tugboat Annies closed down twenty years ago. The 1800 Club was torn down after that. Mikes Bar is inadequate, The Omni which was thriving in the 80’s all but shut down. I have seen the plans for the new buildings and they are absolutely fantastic. I am older now and hope I live long enough to enjoy this new place.

  • Gloria Ruiz

    The poll results are about the same as they have been from the beginning. People are not generally aware of the advantages the destination resorts will bring to Miami and I doubt they we greatly educated by the pollsters. We all know the economy is bad and we need jobs. The destination resorts will fix both those problems. We need to pass that bill and get the construction going ASAP.

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