Things Don’t Look Great for Casino Repeal Efforts

An early rendering of the proposed MGM casino in Springfield.
File photo of an artist rendering provided by MGM Resorts International via The Springfield Republican shows part of a proposed casino complex in Springfield. –AP

Three polls released in the last week show Massachusetts casino supporters to have a pretty decent advantage over repeal efforts as election season kicks into gear.

One poll, from The Boston Globe, was released August 29. Two others were released Tuesday—one from WBUR and MassINC, and another from UMass Lowell and Channel 7. All three polls were chiefly focused on the gubernatorial race, but each also asked voters how they plan to vote on Question 3—a “Yes’’ to which would wipe away plans to build three casinos and a slots parlor in Massachusetts.

The findings:

The Boston Globe poll tallied 605 voters, 42 percent of whom said they would vote to repeal standing casino laws, compared to 51 percent that would not and 7 percent who say they are undecided.

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That was the best showing for repeal advocates.

The UMass/7 poll found 36 percent who would repeal, compared to 59 percent who would not. More than 1,600 people answered the question for that poll.

And WBUR/MassINC found 37 percent of 700 voters in favor of repeal compared to 52 percent who would sooner see the casinos built. Ten percent were undecided in that poll.

The UMass/7 and Globe polls broke things down by party affiliation. Both polls showed stronger support for keeping casinos in place from Democrats than Republicans, but the Globe’s poll found overall support for repeal among Republicans, at 48 percent to 46 percent. The sample size there was pretty small, however, working out to just a 39-37 voter advantage, and the UMass/7 poll found Republicans also against repeal. In each poll, independents were strongly in favor of keeping casino plans in place.

Even aggregate data from several polls doesn’t always tell the full story. But these three taken together suggest that as August approached September, there was a decent advantage for the casino industry, which figures to throw a few dollars toward further gaining voter sympathies during the referendum campaign.