Civil War Trust
For Immediate Release: 11/15/05
Pennsylvania Voters Oppose Casino Near Historic Gettysburg Battlefield
Statewide public opinion poll reveals that two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters oppose plans for a casino near the Gettysburg Battlefield
(Gettysburg, PA) - A public opinion poll commissioned by the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) reveals that Pennsylvania voters overwhelmingly oppose plans for a 42-acre casino complex near the historic Gettysburg Battlefield. According to the poll, 65 percent of those surveyed indicated opposition to a casino at Gettysburg.
"The statewide poll removes all doubt — Pennsylvanians do not want a casino at Gettysburg," remarked CWPT President James Lighthizer. "Keystone state voters clearly recognize that America's most hallowed battleground is no place to build a casino."
In the telephone survey, Pennsylvania voters were asked several questions related to the proposed casino near the Gettysburg battlefield. In nearly every case, a majority expressed strong opposition to the casino plan. In addition to the 65 percent who opposed a casino at Gettysburg, 55 percent indicated that they would oppose a casino near an unnamed historic site in Pennsylvania.
In Central Pennsylvania, where the proposed casino would be located, the opposition was even more pronounced. According to the survey, 68 percent of Central Pennsylvania voters opposed building a casino near an unnamed historic site in the Keystone State. Less than one-quarter of mid-state respondents expressed support for building a casino near historic sites.
When Central Pennsylvanians were asked specifically about the 42-acre casino complex planned for Gettysburg, more than three-quarters (78 percent) declared their opposition to the proposal. Only 16 percent expressed support for the concept, with just 6 percent of mid-state voters undecided.
The poll also reminded voters of a recent statement made by Governor Ed Rendell, who said in appearance on the Pennsylvania Cable Network program Pennsylvania Newsmakers: "if that proposal is anywhere near the historic area of Gettysburg, I would oppose it." More than two thirds of those surveyed (67 percent) indicated support for the Governor's statement.
Voters were also asked if they would be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate who advocated building casinos near Pennsylvania historic sites like the Gettysburg Battlefield. More than half (51 percent) indicated they would be less likely to vote for such candidates; only 5 percent stated they would be more likely to vote for candidates who advocated building casinos near historic sites.
Many Pennsylvania voters also indicated they would hold both the Governor and State Legislature responsible for any decisions made by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. When asked who they would consider responsible for approving a casino near a historic site, 43 percent of voters identified the governor and state legislature. Another 35 percent indicated the gaming control board, and 13 percent stated they would blame both equally.
"No Casino Gettysburg could not be more pleased with the results," noted Susan Paddock, spokesperson for the group, which is leading the effort against a casino at Gettysburg. "Pennsylvania voters realize that a casino is incompatible with the character and history of Gettysburg."
The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Research, Inc. from October 27-29, 2005. A total of 625 registered voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. For verification or questions concerning methodology, contact Brad Coker at (904) 261-2444. Margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.
With 75,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.
(For the survey and results, visit http://www.civilwar.org/news/append/append_2005-11-15.htm).