A Congressional Ratings Guide to help with the 2012 elections has been released by the Poker Players Alliance (PPA) this week. The guide shows a big drop in poker opponents on Capitol Hill compared to two years ago. The ratings guide shows grades from A to F or a question mark for all voting members of the House (435) and Senators (100) that can be searched by zip code or state.
Only 57 non-passing grades were given out this year by the PPA from both branches of Congress. Non-passing grades were down from 194 in 2010 and 258 after the inaugural ratings of 2008. The ratings guide also shows fewer grades of A - 72 this year and 90 in 2010 - and B - 54 this year and 82 in 2010 - with many more C grades - 87 this year and 8 in 2010 -and the question marks show 265 this year and 159 in 2010.
The differences in a tougher criteria for grades of A or B and the ongoing education of Congress on internet poker is believed to be the reason many previous opponents are now on the fence or middle-of-the-road on the issue according to Rick Muny, Vice President of Player Relations for the PPA.
"I think we tightened up our criteria to have more fidelity in our data," Muny said. "The question marks don't only include people we don't know about but people we know are on the fence. For us the key is the reduction in opposition. There are some people really passionate against the idea of online poker, who have the idea that this is unwholesome. They grew up with the idea that this is dangerous. The fewer of those people there are, the more likely that legislation will get through."
Now players and visitors can tweet or post on the Facebook pages of representatives directly from the 2012 ratings with the new functionality that's been introduced.
"Our goal is for individuals to be able to go in, see how their lawmakers are on this issue and then take action," Muny said. "The more tools we have, the more active the community can be."
Muny said that grades that are only listed on specific pages of each representative or Senator will soon be updated on the site in coming weeks so ratings of all representatives can be seen on a single page.
Interestingly, from the results of a 2012 U.S. Online Poker Survey that was done randomly of 3,415 PPA members conducted by U.S. Gaming Survey and commissioned by the PPA, the survey found that respondents ranging from 54 to 73 percent in each of the swing states, (Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Carolina), were willing to vote against their party's candidate if that candidate did not support online poker and the other candidate did support it. In the survey, the political party affiliation of each respondent found a near even split between Republicans and Democrats.
"After years of sending letters, placing calls, utilizing social networks and meeting directly with their members of Congress, the poker playing community understands the political power they wield, and licensing and regulating online poker is their top priority," PPA executive director John Pappas said. "It is clear that the frustration of being restricted from playing online poker is driving these Americans to the polls in greater numbers to demand that their voice be heard this election season."