Voters want it tough, on crime, guns, slot sites

MOST Philadelphians feel that violence is the biggest problem facing the city and favor tough crime-fighting approaches, according to the latest Daily News/Keystone Poll.

Of 364 registered Democrats surveyed, 72 percent cited crime and violence as the most important problem facing the city today.

"I still think, given the huge number of people who think crime is a big issue, crime prevention is the single biggest way to move voters," said poll director G. Terry Madonna, of Franklin & Marshall College.

Respondents generally said they wanted the next mayor to take an aggressive stance on violence - 80 percent said they were much more likely to back a candidate who favored tougher gun laws and 61 percent said they were much more likely to vote for a candidate who supported using police surveillance cameras.

Voters were also asked how they felt about stop-and-frisk practices - which candidate Michael Nutter has said he'll support. Although the proposal has been criticized by civil-liberties advocates, 61 percent said they strongly favored or somewhat favored stop-and-frisk.

"This is the degree to which a lot of voters are nervous and fearful about crime," said Madonna.

Candidate Dwight Evans has said he will try to bring back former police commissioner John Timoney if elected. Fifty-six percent said they strongly or somewhat favored the proposal.

Voters also were asked about other issues facing the city, including plans for two slots casinos in Philadelphia. They split over whether casinos would be a plus or minus for the city, with 47 percent saying they would be more negative and 45 percent saying they would be more positive.

On the SugarHouse casino, at Delaware Avenue and Shackamaxon Street in Fishtown, 49 percent said it was not a good location while 37 percent said it was a good spot.

The Foxwoods site, at Columbus Boulevard and Reed Street in South Phildelphia, was seen as a bad location by 50 percent and a good location by 37 percent. *