So says the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld, writing about a Suffolk University/Herald poll that was just released, and that shows a startling reversal of public opinion on casino gambling. Previously, as far as I know, every time the issue has been polled, public support for casino gambling in Massachusetts has been in positive territory. Not this time.
In a serious blow to expanded gambling in Massachusetts, a new Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll shows support for Las Vegas-style casinos has dramatically slipped in just the past few months.
The Suffolk/Herald poll conducted last week shows Bay State voters oppose casinos by a 47-37 percent margin, a near reversal of sentiment. In February, a Suffolk/Herald poll had voters approving of casinos by a 51-37 margin….
When asked “whether it makes sense” to open a casino in Revere or Everett, a resounding 55 percent of voters chose “neither.” Just 18 percent picked Revere as the best location, while just 5 percent chose Everett.
David Paleologos, the director of Suffolk University Political Research Center, said the results show support for casino gambling has taken a huge dive in just a short time.
In other words, the “approve of casinos” numbers declined by 14 points, and the “disapprove” numbers increased by 10 points, over the course of a few months. That is a remarkable turnaround. Hard to say what’s behind it, and Suffolk does not appear to have posted the whole poll on its website yet. Still, it suggests that, if the SJC allows the “repeal the casino deal” question on the ballot, there will be a big fight over it.
In other news from this poll (I assume it’s the same one), the race for Governor looks for the most part similar to other recent polls: Martha Coakley is way ahead of her Democratic rivals (she leads Steve Grossman 44-12 with the other three in single digits), and she beats Charlie Baker by 7 points. Her margin is down from Suffolk’s February poll (at that time she was up on Grossman 56-11, and up on Baker by 13); apparently, most of the defecting voters have moved to the undecided column, rather than to other candidates.
Finally, in a related story, the five Democratic candidates for Governor will square off in a debate tomorrow at 11 a.m. The debate is hosted at Suffolk, and moderated by Suffolk’s John Nucci and the Herald’s Rachelle Cohen. There will be a livestream on bostonherald.com, or you can listen on the Herald’s internet radio station (http://bostonherald.com/herald_radio).