Monday, May 12, 2014

Is There Something Good in the Fair-Dick Poll?* Yes!

Of course, I am referring to the Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll that was conducted recently and has been in the news due to its comparison of dope vs. poker.  You’ve no doubt heard about it because the “major finding” was that respondents were almost twice as likely (50% to 27%) to favor legalization of marijuana (by the states) as they are to favor legalization of online gambling (again, by the states).  This was a national poll of over 1000 respondents in late April of this year, a little after panels in a few states discussed the online gaming issue but before the currently national blowback of Adelson’s attempts to buy legislation on the national level.

As Steve Ruddock reported, the 27% in favor is fairly static since 2010 (previous polls).  Worse, the number of respondents who oppose online gaming is 63%, more than twice those in favor, and knowledge of the issue was also bleak, especially when compared to knowledge of the pot issue.

I agree with much of Steve’s analysis.  Asking about online gambling is different than asking about online poker, and I also like the idea that the asking of “favor/oppose” be extended to a more-standard research template of:
  • Strongly oppose
  • Oppose somewhat
  • Favor somewhat
  • Strongly favor

However, I am a bit more optimistic about the results than many, partly because I see patterns.  Look at the two crosstabs for the legalization questions with age:

Do you favor or oppose allowing casinos to run online gambling for people in their states?


Do you favor or oppose legalizing of small quantities of marijuana for recreational use?


In both cases, it’s us old-fogeys who are most likely to be opposed to gambling and pot.  It’s the youngsters who are more likely to be in favor.  Where have we seen this pattern before?

Gay marriage.

You may not be old enough to remember, but…these same patterns emerged years ago when discussing the idea of legalizing marriage for everyone.  Years ago, the old folks considered marriage between a man and a woman and…that’s it.  Youngsters had other ideas.  Of course, as time goes by, youngsters get older and old folks cease to exist, and the overall percentages change, tilt, until finally…and here we are.  More states recognize gay marriage, and except for the occasional bump in the road (sorry, Michael Sam), society is seeing marriage in a new light.  One we saw coming years ago.

Legalizing recreational marijuana has a longer history, like gay marriage, but it too is changing, slowly (and it’s us old folks who…pufffffffff…have the history).  Online gaming is a mere babe in the woods, so (unfortunately), it may take more time.  I might cease to exist by the time it becomes a reality again.

Then again, online poker has a slightly different history in that it WAS “legal” before, so maybe it won’t take as long as I fear.  Oh, wait, so was cannabis.

Another aspect of this survey I hold out hope for is the awareness factor.  As Ruddock commented, it was dismal…

There has been movement by some states to make it legal for casinos to provide on-line, or internet, gambling for its residents. Have much have you heard or read about this…?
A lot
Just a little
Nothing at all

In this question, it was the younger demos that were slightly less likely to have heard/read about the issue (there was virtually NO difference in the age demos on the awareness of the marijuana issue).  The one thing I’d like to see that wasn’t included in the study’s results was a crosstab of awareness with being in favor or opposing the issue of online gambling.  My guess is that more awareness of the issue is a negative (for us) as it means individuals are more likely to be against the idea.  Of course, if the ONLY thing they’ve heard about it is the shrieking of Adelson’s minions, then that makes some sense.  I’ve asked the folks at FDU if they’d run this very crosstab for me (if they haven’t already done it internally), and if I get a response, I’ll post an update.

For now, it’s obvious we still have our work cut out for us.  If we fight, we can win. 

If not, we can just go get high.

* I refer to the Fairleigh Dickenson PublicMind poll as the Fair-Dick Poll because (a) I am mindful about Twitter’s 140 character restrictions, and (b) because they refer to it as a “vice” poll which is kinda slanted, really, so I’m calling them Fair-Dick in retaliation.

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