The six companies vying for a chance to revamp the ailing Aqueduct Racetrack into a gambling destination have been searching for ways to gain an edge.
But a claim by Aqueduct Gaming LLC - one of the six seeking the bid - that a recent poll shows they are especially in tune with the community may be overly confident, local officials said.
The company hired the Siena Research Institute to survey Queens residents about plans to renovate the racetrack into a complex with video lottery machines, restaurants, retail shops and a hotel.
About a third of respondents said they didn't want a Las Vegas-style attraction in their backyard but 36% said they wanted a "spectacular" attraction that would put "Queens on the map."
But the survey also found few people - about 7% - were closely following the issue of redevelopment.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr. said it would be unwise for anyone, especially the bidders, to read too much into the poll.
Betty Braton, chairwoman of Community Board 10, said many residents are indeed closely following every step of the process.
Don Levy, director of the Siena Research Institute, said 703 borough residents were interviewed for the poll. He said efforts were made to reach those who lived in areas closest to the racetrack.
"We're not a market research firm," he said.
In fact, many of the responses were identical to issues voiced by Addabbo, Braton and others in the community.
The respondents "don't want anything to happen that will bring the threat of crime," Levy said, adding that "they are willing to accept a development that perhaps at first blush they wouldn't, if it will create good sustainable jobs for people in Queens."
Gov. Paterson is expected to announce a decision within the next two weeks.