Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Poll Finds New Jerseyans Split on Casino Expansion

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Poll Finds New Jerseyans Split on Casino Expansion

Article excerpt

New Jerseyans remain divided over whether to end Atlantic City's nearly four-decade statewide monopoly on casino gambling, according to the results of a Rutgers-Eagleton poll released today.

Asked if casino gambling should be permitted in other parts of the state, 49 percent said it should not be while 44 percent said that it should. State legislators are expected to vote this month to approve a question for the November ballot that would ask voters if they support the issuance of two casino licenses in the northern portion of the state. The Meadowlands Sports Complex and Jersey City are considered to be the most likely locations.

The split opinion was similar across political, race, gender and age lines. The highest support for ending the monopoly was 51 percent of those ages 35 to 49, and the lowest was the 37 percent of residents over age 65 who backed the expansion of casinos beyond Atlantic City.

The results mirror a number of polls on the same subject that were conducted in recent years. In October 2014, 47 percent of respondents to the same questions in another Rutgers poll favored ending the monopoly and 43 percent were opposed.

Another split verdict came when respondents were asked about legislation to increase the state's power over Atlantic City's municipal budget -- a measure backed by Governor Christie and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney, D-Gloucester.

While 44 percent said the state should step in, 52 percent said the city should "handle these issues on its own."

'Ultimately against'

A Rutgers poll from last year found that New Jerseyans supported more state involvement in the city's finances -- although that question related to the appointment of an emergency manager.

"A number of New Jerseyans see both sides here, but public opinion is ultimately against the takeover legislation proposed by Governor Christie and state Senate President Sweeney," Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University, said in a statement. …

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