By the numbers
The Naples Daily News/Scripps Poll found the following:
Respondents who said they would support casinos by gender:
women — 40 percent
men — 52 percent
women — 42 percent
men — 39 percent
women — 18 percent
men — 9 percent
Respondents who support the casino by race:
Hispanic — 45 percent
white — 46 percent
blacks — 48 percent
other — 32 percent
Opponents to the creation of casinos in the state:
Hispanic — 43 percent
white — 42 percent
blacks — 30 percent
other — 44 percent
Still undecided on on casinos:
Hispanic — 13 percent
white — 12 percent
blacks — 23 percent
other — 24 percent
The following support the creation of casinos in Florida by age:
18 to 29 — 36 percent
30 to 45 — 61 percent
46 to 65 — 43 percent
older than 65 — 36 percent
18 to 29 — 45 percent
30 to 45 — 31 percent
46 to 65 — 41 percent
older than 65 — 48 percent
18 to 29 — 19 percent
30 to 45 — 8 percent
46 to 65 — 16 percent
older than 65 — 16 percent
NAPLES — With the presidential election nearing and a referendum slated on whether to allow slot machines in Bonita Springs, a statewide poll finds that 45 percent of Floridans support the creation of Vegas-style casinos in the state.
The Naples Daily News/Scripps Poll conducted Oct. 17-18 shows 41 percent oppose the creation of casinos, similar to those in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, in the state. Another 14 percent of respondents said they were undecided when it came to the creation of casinos, according to the Naples Daily News/Scripps Poll.
"With slow economic growth and a relatively high unemployment rate, people are more likely to favor new industries as sources of jobs," said Anthony Miyazaki, a marketing professor at Florida International University.
As for the entertainment value, Miyazaki said people who gamble whether the economy is good or bad would rather not have to travel out of state when the economy is bad.
The poll, conducted by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling, reached 800 likely voters across the state and has a margin of error of 4 percent. It was commissioned by E.W. Scripps television stations in West Palm Beach and Tampa, the Treasure Coast Newspapers and the Naples Daily News.
The poll comes as the greyhound track in Bonita Springs is pushing for Lee voters to approve a Nov. 6 ballot measure that would allow the addition of slot machines there.
Considering the poll's margin of error, John Sowinski, president of Orlando-based No Casinos Inc., said in an email the results of the poll hardly cry out as a mandate for changing the law.
"What we have learned over the years is that casino gambling is not an issue that wears well with voters over time. The more they learn about it, the more they reject it," Sowinski said. "When voters weigh both the costs of higher crime and social dependency and the empty promises of gambling hucksters, they tend to turn it down overwhelmingly."
When it came to political party affiliation, it didn't make a difference in the poll.
Those who supported the creation of casinos in Florida was about the same regardless of party affiliation — 45 percent Democrats, 46 percent Republicans and 44 percent independents or other parties.
Those opposed included 40 percent in both the Democratic and Republican parties, while 43 percent of independent and other voters opposed the creation of casinos.
Bob Jarvis, a Nova Southeastern professor of gambling law in Fort Lauderdale, said the poll result doesn't mean much because the question is so complex.
"Most people are savvy enough to not answer until they have more details, so they express no opinion, or say no," he said.