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57% in poll say no to Aqueduct convention center

A Siena College poll found 58 percent of state voters disapprove of the plan to build a convention center at Aqueduct Racetrack. Photo courtesy Genting
TimesLedger Newspapers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to build the nation’s largest convention center near Aqueduct Race Track is not sitting well with state voters, according to a Siena College poll released Monday.

Only 38 percent of those polled like the idea, 57 percent oppose it and 5 percent have no opinion, the survey found.

The plan, outlined in Cuomo’s State of the State address, calls for Genting, the operator of the racino at Aqueduct, to finance a $4.4 billion convention center.

The state would not be laying out any cash to pay for the center.

“At this point, there is strong opposition to the governor’s proposal for a new convention center adjacent to the Aqueduct racetrack and racino,” said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg. “New York City voters are barely supportive, suburbanites are opposed and upstaters are strongly opposed. Clearly, the governor has his work cut out for him to convince voters on that proposal.”

After Cuomo’s address, a number of elected officials in the borough came out in support of the plan but wanted the surrounding neighborhood, particularly Community Board 10, to have some input on the convention center.

Blacks were the most supportive of the plan, with 61 percent approving, 33 percent against the proposal and 5 percent having no opinion.

Only 31 percent of whites like the idea. Half of both city voters and Latinos back the project.

Along religious lines, those who identified themselves as Catholic, Jewish and Protestant all were against the convention center.

Six in 10 Catholics are not supportive of it, half of Jews do not like the idea and 54 percent of Protestants do not want the convention center to be built.

All income levels were also against the center, with those making less than $50,000 the least supportive at 33 percent.

More than four in 10 voters polled who earn between $50,000 and $100,000 are against the center and nearly six in 10 voters making over $100,000 do not support Cuomo’s proposal.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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