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Palmer residents still back a casino; Poll results echo past referendum.

Byline: Brian Lee

PALMER - A majority of 485 residents surveyed support a resort-style casino here, according to a poll conducted by the Center for Policy Analysis at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.

The center said that 54.6 percent were in favor, 24.6 percent were opposed and 20.8 percent were undecided.

The telephone survey was conducted from July 16-20 and has a 4.5 percent margin of error, the center said.

Northeast Resorts Group, of East Longmeadow, which owns 152 acres adjacent to Exit 8 of the Massachusetts Turnpike, sponsored the $6,000 poll.

"We do polls all the time and we use the exact same random-sampling techniques that we would use in doing any other poll," Clyde W. Barrow, the center's director, who supervised the poll, said yesterday in an interview.

"That's why they sponsored (the Center for Policy Analysis) to do it, because we do polling with well-accepted state-of-the-art techniques," Mr. Barrow said.

Northeast Resorts and Peter Picknelly of Peter Pan Bus Lines have an exclusive development agreement with Mohegan Sun to develop the Palmer site.

Eleven years ago in a referendum, 56 percent of voters in Palmer supported hosting a resort casino.

The vote was 2,444 to 1,935.

The poll suggests that if the town held another referendum soon, voters would again favor hosting a resort casino, Mr. Barrow asserted.

Respondents were asked:

"Mohegan Sun has proposed a resort casino in Palmer on a 152-acre site adjacent to Exit 8 on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Do you support or oppose Mohegan Sun's proposal to locate a resort casino at this site, or are you undecided?"

Northeast Resorts Group also controls 35 acres of waterfront land in New Bedford.

Palmer and New Bedford have been identified as potential locations for a destination resort casino should the Legislature authorize expanded gaming in Massachusetts.

In a separate Center for Policy Analysis poll released last week, New Bedford residents favored hosting a casino, 53 percent to 20 percent, with the remainder undecided.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Jul 24, 2008
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