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Betras: Casino support lessens

Published: Fri, October 16, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

New poll was commissioned by TruthPAC, a coalition of gambling opponents.

By Harold Gwin

YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras said a new statewide poll shows support is fading for Issue 3, a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling in Ohio.

Betras said Thursday that the poll, conducted by Democratic pollsters Polling and Strategic Design (Schroth, Eldon and Associates) of Sarasota Fla., shows 48 percent of respondents who are likely to vote in November say they would support the issue.

That’s down markedly from a late-September Ohio Newspaper Poll that showed 59 percent of Ohio’s voters support Issue 3, said Betras, a staunch Issue 3 opponent.

The Polling and Strategic Design poll, commissioned by TruthPAC, shows 44 percent of those questioned would vote against Issue 3 if voting were today. The newspaper poll showed 38 percent opposed.

TruthPAC bills itself as a bipartisan coalition of opponents to Issue 3 and says its campaign against the casino question is partially funded by the Ohio horse-racing industry, which it says would be destroyed by the casino plan.

Betras said TruthPAC initially commissioned a Republican polling outfit to look at the Ohio issue, but that he, as a Democratic Party official, refused to use those figures, even though they showed roughly the same results. TruthPAC then commissioned Polling and Strategic Design to do the survey that involved 800 telephone interviews Oct. 7-11 with Ohio residents who identified themselves as likely voters this fall. Polling and Strategic Design said its poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.

Betras declined to release copies of the poll questions, saying that was the property of the polling company, but he did reveal the key question all respondents were asked once pollsters determined they plan to vote in November.

The pollster read the actual ballot language for Issue 3 and then asked the respondent if he or she would vote yes or no if voting today.

The result was 48 percent yes, 44 percent no and 8 percent undecided, he said.

The poll showed that same split for voters in the Mahoning Valley, Betras said.

“The more people learn about this sweetheart deal the casinos have written for themselves, the less they like it,” Betras said. “They are promising thousands of jobs for Ohio and not one single job for the [Mahoning] Valley. They are promising hundreds of millions for the casino cities (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo) and pennies for us.”

The most insulting part of the constitutional amendment is that the Mahoning Valley would be forever banned from getting its own casino, Betras said, adding, “That makes Issue 3 a dead loser for our community.”

The poll shows that, statewide, 62 percent of Democrats favor Issue 3 while 30 percent oppose it, while Republican numbers show only 35 percent support it with 58 percent opposed. Among independents, 45 percent favor Issue 3 ND 48 percent oppose it.


SEE ALSO:TruthPAC complaints to get state hearing.


1commoncents(53 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Gee, I wonder why "the Mahoning Valley always gets screwed over and left out of everything?" With our well-earned reputation for crime, corruption, pervasive mob influence, and an undereducated & destructive union workforce, I would think that everyone would want to embrace us with open arms - especially for casinos.

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2Jumanji(7 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Waaaah! So because Mahoning Valley is left out of this proposal, you're going to begrudge the rest of the state hundreds of millions in tax revenues? Job opportunities? Funds for ALL of our counties, local governments and schools? EVERY COUNTY GETS A SHARE of the tax revenues from the casinos. We need that money! And now!

If later you or someone else wants to build a casino in Mahoning Valley, nothing's stopping you from drafting your own proposal and putting it to a vote of the people. This plan just happens to address our largest cities. Don't be selfish. We need this. I'm VOTING YES in November for the good of ALL OF OHIO.

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3tommytabasco(24 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago


You are certainly uninformed on the issue here.

First, approval of issue 3 will allow 4 casinos, and ONLY 4 to be built. The backers (Penn National/Dan Gilbert) want, and will practically get, a monopoly. They will not allow competition from a Mahoning Valley casino in the future.

Secondly, this is not all about tax revenue, it is about jobs. A local casino will generate thousands of jobs, both from construction, and operations. The jobs generate spending, and local income taxes. That is what this area needs.

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