Casino initiative trails, but has a chance for passage

by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net) 154 views 

A constitutional amendment that would allow a casino to operate in three Arkansas counties – Boone, Miller and Washington – trails in popular support, but opposition remains just under 50%.

The measure, supported by Arkansas Wins and opposed by Protect Arkansas Values, was one of several ballot item questions asked in the most recent Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College survey of 831 likely Arkansas voters. Conducted Sept. 15-17, 2016, the poll has a margin of error of 3.4%.

Voters were asked:

Q: Issue 5 is a constitutional amendment that would allow three casinos to operate in three different counties in Arkansas: Boone, Miller, and Washington. If the election were held today, would you vote for or against this proposal?

38% For
49% Against
13% Don’t Know

“With the potential for a lot of money being spent to influence voters from those for and against this casino amendment, we feel this particular ballot issue may see shifting numbers between now and Election Day,” said Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock.

ANALYSIS
Dr. Jay Barth, professor of political science at Hendrix College, helped craft and analyze the latest poll. He offered this analysis of the poll results:

Included on Arkansas’s long ballot is a constitutional amendment placed before the voters by the petition process that would further loosen Arkansas’s traditionally conservative gambling laws through the creation of three casinos—two in northwest Arkansas and one in the southwest corner of the state.

In recent decades, the state’s voters have continually rejected casino amendments. Many consider the vote on Issue 5 to be a fairer fight than previous measures because of the well-funded support for the measure (to be met by well-funded opposition, to be sure).

That said, our initial survey on the issue indicates only a very effective campaign could pull the measure over the finish line. The patterns of support and opposition on Issue 5 are driven by age. Those under 45 are more supportive of the measure while a majority of older voters are opposed. African-Americans and Democrats are also significantly more supportive of the casino proposal. Somewhat surprisingly, based on previous polling on the general topic, women are slightly more supportive of it than are male voters.

Not surprisingly, considering the fact that two of the casinos would be in Northwest Arkansas, Third Congressional District voters are slightly more supportive of the measure.

METHODOLOGY
This survey was conducted on September 15-17, 2016. The poll, which has a margin of error of +/-3.4%, was completed using IVR survey technology among 831 Arkansas likely voters statewide.

All media outlets are welcome to reprint, reproduce, or rebroadcast information from this poll with proper attribution to Talk Business & Politics and Hendrix College.

For interviews, contact Talk Business & Politics Roby Brock by email at roby@talkbusiness.net or Dr. Jay Barth by email at barth@hendrix.edu.

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