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.
MIAMI HERALD BUILDING
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.
MIAMI ART MUSEUM
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.
TO TEXT, OR NOT TO TEXT
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.
HOW THE POLL WAS CONDUCTED
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.