For Immediate Release: 11/17/06
Pennsylvania Voters Remain Firmly Opposed to Slots Near Gettysburg Battlefield
Despite a costly marketing campaign by casino proponents, a new statewide public opinion poll confirms that Pennsylvania voters remain opposed to a Gettysburg slots parlor
(Gettysburg, Pa.) - A public opinion poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research reveals that Pennsylvania voters remain overwhelmingly opposed to plans for a 5,000-slot casino complex near the historic Gettysburg National Military Park. According to the poll, nearly two-thirds of Pennsylvania voters oppose a casino at Gettysburg. In addition, a majority of voters in the state indicated that they would consider such a casino an embarrassment to the Commonwealth.
The independent poll was commissioned by three national conservation groups, the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). Mason-Dixon had previously conducted a statewide poll of voter attitudes toward the controversial Gettysburg casino proposal in October 2005.
"This latest statewide poll confirms what we already knew. Pennsylvanians hate the idea of a slots parlor at Gettysburg," stated CWPT President James Lighthizer. "Despite an extravagant marketing campaign by Gettysburg casino proponents, Pennsylvanians remain firmly opposed to a casino so close to America's most historic battlefield."
The numbers reinforce Lighthizer's remarks. The October 2005 Mason-Dixon survey found that 65 percent of Pennsylvania voters oppose a Gettysburg casino. The more recent poll found that 64 percent of Pennsylvania voters still oppose the casino, just one percentage point lower than the 2005 analysis.
NPCA spokesperson Cinda Waldbuesser noted that opposition to the Gettysburg slots parlor is even more pronounced in the ten counties in central Pennsylvania closest to Gettysburg. According to the latest survey, 73 percent of central Pennsylvanians oppose a Gettysburg casino. "Those who live closest to Gettysburg understand better than most that a casino doesn't belong anywhere near family-friendly Gettysburg. That's why three-out-of-four mid-state residents reject a casino at Gettysburg," said Waldbuesser. In the October 2005 survey, 78 percent of central Pennsylvania voters indicated opposition to the Gettysburg casino.
In his travels throughout the Keystone State, NTHP spokesperson Adrian Fine has found many Pennsylvanians to be chagrined at the idea of a slots parlor at Gettysburg. "Many Pennsylvanians recognize that a casino so close to a place of quiet contemplation and remembrance will be a blemish on the reputation of the Commonwealth," said Fine.
The survey results confirm Fine's observations. 53 percent of Pennsylvania voters indicated they would consider a casino near Gettysburg to be an embarrassment to the Commonwealth. In the mid-state, the numbers were more pronounced: 63 percent responded that the casino would be an embarrassment to Pennsylvania. Only 30 percent of central Pennsylvania voters thought a Gettysburg slots parlor would not embarrass the state.
Mason-Dixon Polling and Research is well known as one of the most credible and accurate independent polling firms in the nation. Mason-Dixon conducted the poll from October 18-21, 2006. A total of 625 registered voters were interviewed statewide by telephone. For verification or questions concerning methodology, contact Brad Coker at (904) 261-2444. The margin of error is +/- 4 percentage points.
(The complete results of the statewide poll are located online at: http://www.stopthegettysburgslots.org/polling.html)
About the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT)
With 70,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's remaining Civil War battlefields. Since 1987, the organization has saved more than 23,000 acres of hallowed ground, including 697 acres at Gettysburg. CWPT's website is located at www.civilwar.org.
About the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA)
Since 1919, the nonpartisan NPCA has been the leading voice of the American people in protecting and enhancing our National Park System. NPCA, its members, and partners work together to protect the park system and preserve our nation's natural, historical, and cultural heritage for generations to come. NPCA is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with more than 300,000 members, including more than 13,000 members in Pennsylvania. NPCA's website is located at www.npca.org
About the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP)
NTHP is a private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting the irreplaceable. Recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Trust was founded in 1949 and provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to save America's diverse historic places and revitalize communities. Its Washington, DC headquarters staff, six regional offices and 26 historic sites work with the Trust's 270,000 members and thousands of local community groups in all 50 states. NTHP's website is located at www.nationaltrust.org.