By Robert Cartmell
Robert Cartmell is a Data Visualization Intern with the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling and a junior at Rutgers University.
We would never bet that Atlantic City habits and behaviors would differ by partisanship, but apparently it’s “winner winner, partisan dinner” in the resort town. In the most recent Rutgers-Eagleton Poll this past October, New Jerseyans were asked a variety of questions about the gambling center of New Jersey. Though questions were not inherently political, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, answered somewhat differently – and these differences, while not necessarily large, were statistically significant.
When it comes to visiting Atlantic City, ever or in the past twelve months, more Democrats and Independents have frequented the city than Republicans – though the partisan differences in more recent visits is statistically insignificant. Ninety-four percent of Democrats and 92 percent of Independents visited Atlantic City at some point, versus 87 percent of Republicans. A somewhat similar pattern emerges among those who plan to visit in the near future: half of Democrats and Independents say they will probably or definitely go to the resort town in the next twelve months, while four in ten Republicans say the same.
But while Republicans seem less likely to visit Atlantic City, those who do visit are more likely to gamble than other partisans. 54 percent say they gamble on most of or some of their visits, while only 49 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Independents say the same.
Casino preference also differs among partisans. The Borgata is most popular among Republicans, arguably the most luxurious of the casinos in Atlantic City and the number one pick among New Jerseyans overall. Tropicana, the boardwalk casino with a booming Havana nightlife, is the number one pick for Independents. Democrats chose the Trump Taj Mahal, one of the three on the boardwalk affiliated with – coincidentally enough – perennially rumored Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump.
Whether these differences by partisanship are truly due to party identification or whether there are other underlying factors beneath this – like age, race, and socioeconomic status – we do not know for sure from this analysis alone; most likely, though, it’s the latter or at least a combination to some extent. But in a world where everything is becoming increasingly partisan, it is interesting to see that even a getaway to Atlantic City can be divided by political party affiliation!
Results are from a statewide poll of 842 New Jersey residents contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Sept. 29 to Oct. 5, 2014. This release reports on a subsample of 734 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.