Truth and Fiction

The liquor store owners issued a release last week in which they claim New Yorkers oppose the sale of wine at supermarkets.

They base this claim on a survey conducted by the Siena Research Institute in April which asked voters the following question: “Lately there’s been debate about whether New Yorkers should be able to buy wine in grocery stores. Supporters say 35 other states allow this and it will help New York wineries, as well as increase revenues for the state. Opponents, including some law enforcement officials, say it will make it easier for those underage to purchase wine and put neighborhood liquor stores out of business. Do you support or oppose grocery stores to sell wine in New York?”

The result was a statistical tie — 46 percent supported sale; 48 percent opposed with 6 percent offering no opinion. Here’s how the Liquor Store owners press release presents the results: “A Siena College poll from April 2oth found that a plurality of New Yorkers supported the Legislature’s decision to reject Governor Paterson’s ill-conceived plan to sell wine in grocery stores…”

Clearly April Siena survey question did NOT ask voters if they supported the Legislature’s July decision.

Clearly the results of the Siena survey was NOT a plurality for opponents if you take into account the margin of error on Siena’s survey which was 3.8 percent.

And, clearly the survey question favored a ‘no’ vote — offering the totally unsupported claim of the opponents that allowing wine sales by supermarkets would lead to underage alcohol sales. If that were true and if they really cared about underage drinking, the liquor store owners and their law enforcment friends should be in Albany 365 days of the year campaigning to take away from supermarkets the right to sell beer, which they are not doing!

If supermarkets and convenience stores can successfully sell beer only to persons legally permitted to buy it, then they could do the same for wine sales. To argue otherwise is to engage in sophistry.

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