New Poll Finds Residents Narrowly Oppose State Takeover Of Atlantic City

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ (CBS) — A poll released this week suggests a shift in popular sentiment on the future of Atlantic City.

Last year, respondents told the Rutgers-Eagleton poll they supported the idea of an emergency management team coming in to help the financially beleaguered town get back on its feet. This year, with a looming state takeover, the tables are turned with 51% voting thumbs down, according to the poll’s Assistant Director Ashley Koning.

“A bare majority says that Atlantic City should handle these problems on its own while about 44% say that New Jersey should step in,” poll Assistant Director Ashley Koning told KYW Newsradio.

There’s also a divide on the question of allowing casinos in North Jersey. A year and a half ago, the survey found a 47-43 spread in favor of the idea. Now it’s 49-44 against.

Why are the numbers changing?

“It could come from potentially New Jerseyans not wanting any kind of takeover itself,” Koning suggests, “but it could also really stem from we see this kind of lackluster view of Atlantic City and its bleak outlook for its future.”

63% of those surveyed believe the town’s best days are in the rear view mirror.

The state senate is set to vote Monday on the state takeover question. It has yet to get a hearing in the Assembly. There’s a push to put the gaming expansion issue before voters in the form of a referendum.

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