"We should place about as much credence in a poll finding support for gambling funded by the gambling industry as we would place in a study on the health risks of tobacco funded by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company."
LEXINGTON, KY—A family advocacy group, which has been opposed to expanded gambling in Kentucky, raised questions today about a new survey that purports to show majority support for a constitutional amendment to legalize casino-style gambling in Kentucky. "This survey was bankrolled by the gambling industry," said Martin Cothran, spokesman for The Family Foundation. "It showed what they wanted it to show.”
The group also pointed out that the questions asked were ones people would answer the same way no matter what the issue was. "Any time you ask people whether they want to vote on something, they'll say 'Yes'. People always want to have their say, no matter what the issue is. But putting it this way misrepresents the constitutional amendment process in this state and misportrays it as a ballot initiative process, which it isn't. For all practical purposes, this is a push poll."
One of the questions promised increased funding for a number of popular programs if the amendment were passed, promises the group said were unrealistic. "One of the questions basically promised increased funding for education, health care, public safety, and local government, said Cothran. "These promises not only bias the survey, but they are things that will not be put in a constitutional amendment. It will be like the Lottery promises on education funding--promises that went unfilled for over ten years, but which snookered people in to voting for it anyway." Cothran wondered what the response would have been had other questions been asked. "What would the response have been had they asked questions like ‘Do you think Kentucky should write into its constitution a full or partial monopoly for casino-style gambling to horse tracks that are owned by millionaires?’"
The group called for the public release of all the questions on the survey, and the order in which they were asked, all of which are factors that bear on results.