TALLAHASSEE – Ronald Reagan once famously said, “there are three kinds of lies – lies, damn lies and statistics.” Las Vegas Sands rolled out some pretty interesting “statistics” this morning. The rollout of a paid-for poll favoring casinos in Florida from the Las Vegas Sands is being used by the Sands to suggest that voters want mega-casinos in our state, that they don’t want a statewide vote, and that they want their legislators to approve more gambling.
All 3 assertions are false. So how did they get the results they wanted? Through carefully-crafted survey questions. After all, the casino bosses’ favorite trick is the sleight of hand. They’ve proven it once again with the wording of their poll.
We’ve attached all 3 gambling-related questions from a poll done by Mason-Dixon for independent Florida media organizations in early 2012.
Mason-Dixon found that Florida voters oppose Vegas-style casinos by a margin of 42% favor and 44% oppose. It also showed that 81% of Florida Voters want a STATEWIDE vote in order to approve casinos.
Las Vegas Sands Pollster the Tarrance Group wrote their “local approval” question with a set up that made it sound to those being interviewed that they were being asked about a statewide referendum requirement. Here’s how the LVS Pollster asked the question to get the response they wanted:
Would you be more likely or less likely to “favor” the development of a limited number of resort destination casinos if you knew that the final decision would rest with the voters of the state of Florida and that there would be a referendum in each county where these casinos would be located in which voters would be required to approve this change?
Finally, the question that they asked about supporting or opposing a legislator who votes in support of what they want, was written to sound to the respondent like the legislator was simply allowing them to vote on casinos that would be coming anyway.
Here’s what the LVS Pollster asked:
Would you be more likely or less likely to vote to reelect your State Legislator if they voted in favor of allowing a voter approval referendum on the development of a limited number of destination resort casinos that would only be located in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region?
Why can’t they simply ask the question honestly, like we did with our pollster, Hill Research Consultants:
Would you be more or less likely to vote for a candidate that supports expanded gambling in our state?
More likely 30%
Less likely 45%
No effect 19%
Floridians can count on the Las Vegas Sands, and other powerful casino interests to float bogus polls with specious wording to push a casino expansion they’ve long envisioned and that Florida voters have consistently rejected.
When it comes to casinos and their polls, be sure to read the fine print, and be careful of their statistics.
Contact: Michael Murphy
Email: [email protected]