Poll Shows Eastie Voters Favors Casino

A new Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll regarding the upcoming vote on the casino referendum in East Boston suggests the vote might be closer than some may think but still gives Suffolk Downs the edge.

According to the poll, 47 percent of Eastie voters plan to back the casino during the November 5 referendum vote while 39 percent said they would vote ‘no’. The poll showed that 8 percent were undecided and six percent did not answer the question.

Unlike Everett, where 86 percent of the voters backed Wynn’s plan for a casino there David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, said the vote in Eastie won’t be a mandate.

“This won’t be a pro-casino landslide as it was in Everett, but so far the ‘yes’ side seems to be well positioned,” said Paleologos, “However, supporters aren’t quite over the hump yet, and if the ‘no’ side steps up its intensity, especially among women, it could be closer than we think.”

Paleologos pointed out a gender gap on the casino question with Eastie men favoring the casino by 17 points, 51 percent to 34 percent. However, the margin is just one point among Eastie women, with 44 percent for and 43 percent against.

With the gap between pro and anti-casino narrowing slightly, both sides have launched a ground game to get their message out leading up to the November 5 vote.

“We continue to have very strong local support, not only in all the various polls we’ve seen but most importantly, as we go meeting-to-meeting and door-to-door answering questions about our plans to hire locally, to fix longstanding road issues and to invest in the community,” said Suffolk Downs COO Chip Tuttle.

For their part, Celeste Myers of No Eastie Casino said ‘the casino question – is not just a political issue, it is not merely an economic measure as developers and our elected officials who worked so hard to push this bill through the state legislature would have us believe.  Impacts are real and tangible and they will impact and permeate every area of our lives.  Should a casino be installed at Suffolk Downs, it will forever change the physical, economic and environmental landscape of East Boston, the City of Boston and the Commonwealth.  It will cast a very long, dark shadow over the families, business owners and working class folks that are flourishing in this eclectic and often forgotten little corner of the City of Boston.”

The poll was conducted as part of a Boston mayoral race partnership between Suffolk University and the Boston Herald that includes polling, candidate debates, commentary and hands-on involvement for Suffolk students.

In September, the Boston City Councilor voted 12-1 last to approve a ‘Ward Only’ vote on the Host Community Agreement with Suffolk Downs Racetrack regarding the proposed resort-style casino.

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