Latest Poll on Hawaii Island Shows 2-1 Margin in Support for TMT Construction
HILO, HAWAII - The results of a new scientific poll show Hawaii Island residents support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. The public opinion poll conducted in July 2016 by Ward Research, Inc. shows that 60 percent of Big Island residents support moving ahead with construction of the TMT project, with 31 percent opposed.
In a previous scientific poll taken in October 2015, 59 percent of Big Island residents supported moving ahead with TMT construction, while 39 percent were opposed to it.
"It was important for us to understand how Hawaii Island residents feel about the project, and the latest poll results demonstrate that opposition to TMT on Hawaii Island is decreasing," said TMT Executive Director Ed Stone. "That's significant and we are most grateful that the community’s support of the project remains high. The findings also show that the general public on Hawaii Island understands the benefits TMT will bring in terms of Hawaii's economy and education, both of which are very important to TMT."
Among the key findings in the latest poll:
- 89 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree there should be a way for science and Hawaiian culture to co-exist on Maunakea
- 76 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that TMT will help create good paying jobs and economic and educational benefits for those living on Hawaii Island
- 70 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that failure to move forward with TMT will hurt educational opportunities for Hawaii Island children with the termination of TMT’s annual $1 million contribution to the THINK Fund and workforce pipeline program
- 69 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that TMT has followed a lengthy approval process, so work should proceed
- 66 percent of Hawaii Island residents agree that failure to move forward with TMT after following all regulations would hurt Hawaii's reputation as a place to do business
- In addition, the poll found that support for TMT’s construction is split among Hawaiians/part Hawaiians on Hawaii Island, with 46 percent of those polled in support of the project and 45 percent opposed.
"As a Hawaiian, I strongly support the Thirty Meter Telescope because it affords us the ability to share new discoveries of stars, planets and science with our children and grandchildren, keeping in line with the traditions of our ancient Hawaiian navigators," said Kirstin Kahaloa, executive director, Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce. "Think about it. The best science in the world happening on the best mountain in the world right here in Hawaii. How can you not get excited about that? The time has come for everyone including Hawaiians to stand up and support TMT."
Maunakea remains the preferred choice for the location of TMT and the project is continuing to pursue a permit to build on that site. TMT is simultaneously evaluating alternative sites, should the Hawaii option not prove feasible. Added Stone, "We hope that permitting activities continue apace in Hawaii so that TMT can be under construction on Maunakea by April 2018."
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