If nothing else, today’s Boston Globe poll on casino gambling shows that though there may be support for the idea of casino gambling, it’s going to be rough sledding for any particular casino proposal.
Overall, 53 percent of those surveyed say they favor Gov. Deval Patrick’s plan to build three casinos in Massachusetts. Dig deeper, though, and you can see that they really don’t.
The story, by Andrea Estes, gets at this dynamic here:
The poll raises the prospect of a “not in my backyard” backlash, one in which residents favor casinos but fear the traffic and crime problems associated with large-scale resort-casino developments. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed who live in metropolitan Boston said they think casinos should be located in rural areas, while 36 percent of those living in Western Massachusetts said they believe casinos should be in cities.
“I think if it’s in your backyard, you’re not going to want it,” said Ron Hull of East Boston, a teacher. “I’ve read that crime does go up in areas with casinos, and there is the traffic I’m worried about, too.”
When you look at the actual results (PDF), the numbers are even more striking. For instance, respondents were asked, “If Massachusetts were to permit casinos to open, would you want them to be in urban or rural areas?” Check this out:
- Those who live inside Route 128 favor rural areas over urban areas, 54 percent to 18 percent.
- Those who live between 128 and 495 favor rural areas over urban areas, 40 percent to 23 percent.
- Those who live in Central Massachusetts favor rural areas over urban areas, 45 percent to 26 percent.
- Those who live in Western Massachusetts favor urban areas over rural areas, 36 percent to 27 percent.
- Those who live in “Southern” (which I take to mean Southeastern) Massachusetts, Cape Cod and the Islands favor rural areas over urban areas, 44 percent to 24 percent.
So there you have it. In every part of the state, overwhelming majorities do not want a casino built near them.
My other favorite question: “If you had a child, would you want your son or daughter to work in a casino?” The answer: 46 percent “no,” 33 percent “yes.” This is, of course, another form of NIMBYism, and a particular pernicious one. Why is it all right for someone else’s kid to work at a casino but not your own?
To the extent that casino opponents allowed the recall election to be portrayed as a referendum on the proposed casino in that town, this is an unfortunate development. But I suspect this will prove to be no more than a minor setback in the campaign to keep Middleborough casino-free.