The latest poll about a November referendum that could authorize casinos in northern New Jersey makes it appear the effort is on life support for 2016.
The new poll on North Jersey casinos
Stockton University released a poll this past week about the ballot measure on North Jersey casinos. The referendum would amend the state constitution, allowing licenses for two new casinos more than 72 miles from Atlantic City.
That poll showed that two out of every three respondents do not support the expansion of gambling New Jersey. The poll showed that 68 percent oppose the amendment, while 27 percent support casino expansion.
In South Jersey, the gap was even larger: 74 percent in the eight southernmost counties oppose the referendum.
“These results should provide some comfort to residents of the Atlantic City region, which has seen the loss of 5,400 casino industry jobs since the start of 2014,” said Sharon Schulman, executive director of Stockton U.’s Hughes Center. “Clearly the voters – especially those in South Jersey – do not want to see Atlantic City casino competition within the state.”
Two polls, similar data
A poll from September conducted by Rutgers came to the same conclusion — albeit by a narrower margin — that the referendum was not terribly popular with voters. Just 35 percent approved of allowing North Jersey casinos, while 58 percent disapproved.
Knowing the specific locations of the North Jersey casinos had little effect on support, even in the newer poll:
Possible casino locations being discussed, if the amendment were to pass, include Jersey City and the Meadowlands. More than half (53 percent) say knowing those specific locations would have no impact on their vote. Only 5 percent of opponents would support the amendment because of the locations, and 8 percent of supporters would switch to opposing casino expansion.
Once upon a time, polling put the two sides in a dead heat.
Any chance for a turnaround for North Jersey casinos?
Of course, there is still more than a month until voters actually head to the polls to cast their votes. But the polls seem to point to the issue being resolved in voters’ minds.
And there is going to be little done to change their minds. The group that was spending money on a “yes” vote for the referendum has already thrown in the towel, and will not air any new commercials.
So, short of something unexpected happening — or polls that are wildly off the mark — don’t plan on heading to North Jersey to play slots any time soon.