Informal Survey in MoCo Shows Anti-Slots Sentiment
Montgomery's legislators have long been some of the loudest voices opposed to the expansion of slot machine gambling, so it was not surprising when a recent sampling found many local residents who share their views.
In a rather unscientific straw ballot conducted by the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, more than half of participants said they oppose the slots measure backed by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Voters will be asked in the November election whether to allow up to 15,000 slot machines at five locations throughout the state.
The central committee surveyed led about 600 people who stopped by its tent at the Montgomery County Fair this month. The results: 37 percent in favor; 56 percent opposed and 7 percent undecided, according to Milton J. Minneman, a spokesman for the committee.
Straw pollsters did not check whether participants were registered voters or county residents, so the results are not a reliable indicator of local sentiment.
"The vote may or may not have reflected the views of Montgomery County Democrats," Minneman said in announcing the results. "Of interest was the low vote for 'had not made up their mind yet,' which was even lower as the week progressed."
A recent statewide poll conducted for slots proponents told a different story: 63 percent of likely voters said they favor the slots measure, and 34 percent were opposed. The poll, conducted in May by Garin Hart Yang Research Group, found nearly identical support for slots in the Washington and Baltimore media markets.
An independent poll released in January found less support for slots, with 54 percent of regular voters backing the proposal and 38 percent against legalizing the machines.
Next month, Montgomery's central committee will decide whether to take a position on the measure and on other ballot questions voters will face in November.
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