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Poll: Miami-Dade voters evenly split on casinos, but opposition growing

Miami-Dade voters are evenly divided on whether to allow casino gambling in South Florida, but opposition appears to be growing even as the Legislature debates competing plans to open the region to Las Vegas-style casino resorts, according to a new poll.

In a survey of 400 registered voters in Miami-Dade, voters split almost equally over the idea of large-scale casinos. The electorate is similarly divided over putting a destination resort and casino in downtown Miami on The Miami Herald’s waterfront property.

Pollster Bendixen & Amandi International conducted the poll Tuesday through Thursday for The Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, WFOR-CBS 4 and Univisión 23 to gauge voters’ attitudes about casino gambling and other local issues. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

On gambling “the vote in the electorate is still very much split,” said Fernand Amandi, the firm’s managing partner.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they supported the concept of Las Vegas-style resorts, while 46 percent said they opposed it — a narrow difference within the poll’s margin of error. Ten percent did not answer or offered no opinion.

The poll also asked about specific plans for a $3.8 billion casino resort on Biscayne Bay proposed by Genting, a Malaysian casino company that bought The Herald property last year. Forty-seven percent of respondents said they supported the plan, and 45 percent said they were opposed — again within the margin of error — with 9 percent offering no opinion.

The voters’ attitudes toward Genting’s proposal remained largely unchanged even after hearing arguments for and against the project, the survey found. The poll is the first to publicly gauge voter sentiment about the Genting proposal. More here.

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