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Analysis: Support For Expanded Gambling In Maryland Unclear, Polls Show Virginia Still Swinging

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Audits warn of lax oversight at Washington, D.C.'s tax office, Maryland wrangles over expanded gambling, and Virginia heats up as a battleground state in this election. Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney takes a look at this week's top stories.

On the recent reports of security lapses at the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue, and what it means for the District's CFO, Natwar Gandhi: "Hopefully it'll mean that Gandhi's department, and especially the District's tax office, will improve its procedure in transparency. He came under criticism at a hearing on Wednesday from several council members. There's a feeling of déjà vu about all of this. Gandhi's office has come under this kind of criticism repeatedly since the big 2000 scandal where an employee embezzled about $50 million from the tax office before getting caught. The main criticism at the hearing Wednesday had to do with the recent disclosure by colleagues at the Washington Post that some internal audits revealed problems in the tax office were being kept secret."

On the level of support for expanded gambling in Maryland: "The early polls suggest in the very least that there's been a huge drop in popular support for casino gambling in Maryland. And that's compared to four years ago when voters first authorized video slots in the state. Now this is all about ballot question seven, which would expand gambling in several ways in Maryland. In 2008, when casinos were first put before the voters, they were overwhelmingly approved with 58 percent of the vote. But a Baltimore Sun poll two weeks ago, found that only 38 percent were in favor now, compared to 53 percent against. That's a huge swing. But then another poll that came out at the around the same time had it statistically tied. Why the big difference? One reason could be because the questions were worded differently."

On what the polls in Virginia are showing: "As elsewhere around the country, President Obama has lost ground in the polls in Virginia since his poor performance in the debate against Romney. Obama was ahead in almost all of the polls in Virginia before the debate, and now it's a toss up. And interesting phenomenon is that in the U.S. Senate race there, Tim Kaine, the Democrat, is still consistently running ahead of George Allen, the Republican. So that suggests there could still be some swing voters who are prepared to vote for the Republican Romney for President, but the Democratic Kaine for Senator."

Listen to the full analysis here.


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