More casino poll spinning

Todd Dorman
Published: February 12 2013 | 3:26 pm - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 11:22 am in

I posted earlier about the poll showing a dead heat in the race to the March 5 Linn County casino referendum. Yes led No 49-47 among 400 likley voters, with a very small 4 percent undecided.

And the spinning continues. Gettin' dizzy...

Vote Yes Linn County is "pleased" to be barely ahead:

We are pleased to see that Linn County voters are reacting positively to the economic and entertainment value of having a casino in our area and are smarter than to be influenced by casino bosses outside of Linn County. We are excited by the fact that we are winning and that with three weeks to go, we will have even more opportunity to educate voters about the great benefits to Linn County. Our message of job creation, positive economic impact, and the fun of having yet another fine entertainment venue in our area is resonating with voters. We are confident the voters will agree it is time to propose a casino for Linn County on March 5th.

Just Say No Casino's spokesman Sam Roecker sees that "pleased" and raises them a "good luck getting a license:"

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has outlined seven criteria that they follow when they’re determining whether to grant a new license or not. One of these areas is community support and if Linn County casino supporters win by a narrow margin, it will be very difficult for them to show that the community is behind them. Our focus is on stopping this casino on March 5th, but if Steve Gray and his investors win by a narrow margin they will have a tough time convincing the IRGC that there is widespread support from Linn County.

It's true that the poll is lousy news for casino backers. Support is not deep, if this poll can be believed, and there may not be a lot of persuadable folks remaining to deepen it. Opponents are correct that a narrow yes-side win could mean trouble in the licensing process.

But being ahead is better than being behind. And winning is generally better than losing, because losing means no licensing process at all. In 2003, the casino referendum here was defeated by 6 fat percentage points, so even a tight win now would be a significant turnaround. Special election victories aren't easy around these parts, or so I'm told.

And really, we're getting this parlor game well in front of the horse. It's always fun to speculate, but its relevance at this point is low, unless you're a casino opponent seeking to spin up a dark cloud of doom over your rivals. Local voters are deciding whether they want casino gambling in their county. There will be plenty of time to hash out the meaning of margins and signals from the gaming commission when that voting stuff is done.

 

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