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Maine Politics 101

The Bangor Daily News editorial board doesn't seem to understand how citizen-initiated referenda work.

Poll: Only Question 2 Competitive

A new Market Decisions poll has the casino referendum statistically tied, but shows large margins in favor of Obama, Collins, and for repealing the beverage tax.

President: Obama 52%, McCain 33%
US Senate: Collins 54%, Allen 37%
Question 1: Yes 66%, No 28%
Question 2: Yes 49%, No 48%

The survey of 387 likely Maine voters was taken from October 13–26 with a margin of error of ±5%, 95 times out of 100.

This poll has a smaller sample size and was taken over a longer period than some of the other recent surveys. Polling even is good for CasinosNo!, as undecided voters are thought to be more likely to ultimately vote "No" (in favor of the status quo) on any given referendum.

Yes on 2 Goes After Bailey

The Pro-Casino Campaign has released a new ad attacking CasinosNo! spokesman Dennis Bailey for comments he supposedly made at a "Rising Tides" (I assume they mean A Rising Tide) training seminar.

The ad claims the group has a tape of the event, although only a transcript of the exchange is available on their website and no audio is played during the ad. The ad highlights the following quote from Bailey discussing how his group won the last casino referendum as an example of him admitting to scaring voters:

"Fear always overcomes common sense, always. Casinos talk about millions of dollars a year and then we come along and say there's crime, prostitution, whatever."

I imagine in a few months, at another training seminar, Bailey will be discussing how he won this election by annoying the opposition until they focused their time and energy on him instead of winning the vote.

This ad comes on the heels of a controversy about one of the group's other recent ads.

CasinosNo! on Youtube

As Las Vegas money allows the pro-casino side to take to the airwaves, CasinosNo! has responded by taking to the internet, with a youtube video highlighting some of the more unattractive parts of the referendum.

It's not a high-quality video and the soundtrack is some kind of muted reverb, but it gets the point across, and the bill itself may be bad enough that it won't take a high-powered media campaign to defeat it. Still, I hope this isn't the best the "no people" have to offer.

Pro Casino Ads on TV

The Yes on 2 campaign, now backed by the Olympia Group, has begun airing two ads, titled "Lost Millions" and "Opportunity," claiming that a casino in Oxford County will create jobs and recoup money from Mainers who currently travel out of state to gamble.

The ads go after CasinosNo! directly, referring to them as "the no people".

PolitickerME has more.

Casino Referendum Gets Personal

Dennis Bailey, executive director of CasinosNo!, has taken aim straight at pro-casino spokesperson and Green Party stalwart Pat LaMarche with a new recurring feature on the group's website "The Daily Pat Down," which will be used to respond to her public statements.

Susan Cover reports that LaMarche says bring it on, asserting that "we're more than happy to go source for source with what we've got."

Casino Referendum Gets Interesting

Seth Carey, the ethically-challenged lawyer, is no longer head of the Oxford County casino referendum effort. He's been bought out by a Vegas firm that will likely dump a ton of money into the election. Pat LaMarche is back on as spokesperson for the effort.

The referendum itself remains as pernicious as ever. Its wording would give the casino company a monopoly over gambling in the state and the group's president a seat on several state boards overseeing everything from health care efforts to education. I hope Dennis Bailey and CasinosNo! are ready for their two-front fight.