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New poll reveals Florida is still very divided over casino gambling

A new survey by Tampa pollster Paul Fallon shows that Floridians haven't budged too much from previous polls on their views about casino gambling: they're still deeply divided with 50 percent in support and 43 percent opposed. The percentage of people in support has grown, however, compared to a Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times poll in January which found that 44 percent of likely voters in Florida opposed casino gambling while 42 percent were opposed, with a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Here's Fallon's assessment:

 I just completed the spring installment of the quarterly Florida Omnibus SurveyTM for my various clients, and decided to also include a question to gauge general interest in the concept of allowing casinos to be built in areas that already have gaming. The results indicate that this is a highly-polarizing topic within Florida that divides voters among many lines, such as age, party, race and gender. Overall, 50% of voters supported the idea, while 43% opposed it and 7% were unsure. However, sub-group analysis tells a very different story, which illustrates the many political cross-currents affecting this issue.

For example, as the graphic insert illustrates, the idea was supported by a majority of men (56% to 39%), but opposed by a plurality of women (44% to 47%). Similarly, it was supported by a majority of 18-to-29 year olds (59% to 31%), but opposed by a plurality of senior citizens 60 years of age or older (44% to 47%). Results by political party paint another picture of how treacherous the topic may be, as it was supported by a majority of independents and voters of other minor parties or those who are unaffiliated (57% to 36%), and plurality of Democrats (48% to 42%), but Republicans were divided about it (48% to 48%). Moreover, a majority of white voters supported it (53% to 40%), while Hispanic/Latino voters were split (48% to 48%), and it was opposed by a majority of African-Americans (35% to 55%).

Although this was a concept test, and legislation or an amendment would look quite different, this data seems to presage the great difficulty that might be encountered in building a consensus about the idea. Please note that this question was not funded or commissioned by any candidate, organization, association or committee. It was included in the survey because I believe that this is a topical matter that may be of interest to people with whom I work and professionally associate. If you have any questions about this data or would like to discuss it, please feel free to call me at 813-283-2665.

This information is based on survey data that was gathered through telephone interviews that specially-trained opinion research interviewers conducted with 802 randomly-selected registered voters in the State of Florida who had valid residential or cellular telephone numbers and recent histories of voting in past even-year general elections. The interviews were performed during the period of May 23, 2012 through May 25, 2012. The overall estimated margin of sampling error is +/- 3.46%, based on a confidence level of 95%, although it varies for each individual question. This means that if this survey was repeated, 95 times out of 100 the results would be within plus or minus 3.46% of those provided herein. Adjustments were made to weight the results toward geographic and demographic characteristics of the state, in order to account for under- and over-sampling that normally occurs as a result of the random selection process, to ensure that all major sub-groups are represented in proportion to their actual percentages of the electorate.