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Voters back Aqueduct center

TimesLedger Newspapers

Changing a few words made a big difference on state voters’ opinion of the plan to build the country’s largest convention center adjacent to the Aqueduct racino.

When the question was first posed by Siena College in January, only 38 percent of those polled supported the project.

But the respondents were not told that Genting, the operator of the racino, would be footing the bill for the center, which led them to believe the state was paying for the project.

A Siena poll released Monday showed 61 percent are in favor of the convention center and only a third oppose it.

In the latest poll, voters were told the project would be completely paid for by Genting.

When asked if the difference in how the question was phrased is what accounted for the change in opinion, Siena pollster Steve Greenberg said “absolutely.

“We pointed that out,” he said, referring to the change in phrasing of the question.

The convention center, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his State of the State address would be the nation’s biggest, has the support of every segment of the population polled by Siena except Jews, among whom 46 percent like the idea and 47 percent are against it.

Of the more than dozen demographics polled, young people support the project the most with 72 percent approval but 27 percent are not in favor of the plan.

Seven in 10 Latinos support the center — the most of the three racial groups documented in the poll — while only a quarter oppose the convention center.

More than two-thirds of blacks support the center with 26 against it and 59 percent of whites like the idea while 36 percent are opposed.

Suburban New Yorkers support the convention center at 65 percent, while 62 percent of city residents and 57 percent of upstaters support it.

More men than women — 57 percent to 56 percent — are in favor of the convention center, which is expected to bring in thousands of jobs to Queens.

Political moderates (64 percent) are more in favor of the center than conservatives (59 percent) or liberals (57 percent).

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

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