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Latest Poll Shows 2-1 Margin in Support of TMT on Maunakea

*Maunakea Remains TMT’s Preferred Choice*

HILO, HAWAII (May 28, 2020) – The results of a new scientific poll show Hawaii residents continue to support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea by a nearly 2-to-1 margin. The public opinion poll conducted in March 2020 by Ward Research, Inc. shows that 61 percent of Hawaii residents support moving ahead with construction of TMT, with 32 percent opposed.

“Given where we are, it was important for us to understand how Hawaii residents feel about the project,” said Gordon Squires, TMT VP, External Relations. “These results are significant, demonstrating that a majority of the Hawaii community supports TMT moving forward on Maunakea. The findings also show that the people of Hawaii see the benefits TMT will bring in terms of Hawaii’s economy and education. They also understand that TMT will likely revolutionize humankind’s understanding of the universe and will help to ensure that Hawaii remains the global leader in astronomy.”

Among the key findings in the latest poll:

  • 92 percent of Hawaii residents agree there should be a way for science and Hawaiian culture both to exist on Maunakea
  • 83 percent of Hawaii residents agree that the protest on Maunakea is really about issues larger than TMT, such as Hawaiian homelands, overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, and land management
  • 80 percent of Hawaii residents agree that peaceful protests are fine but have no tolerance for protests that result in laws being broken
  • 79 percent of Hawaii residents agree that the government is responsible for providing safe construction access to the TMT site
  • 76 percent agree that TMT will help create good paying jobs and economic and educational benefits for those living on Hawaii Island
  • 65 percent of Hawaii residents agree that failure to move forward with TMT will lead to the departure of Hawaii’s $167-million astronomy industry

Law Enforcement Attitudes

The latest poll also tested attitudes about law enforcement.

Two-thirds of the Hawaii residents surveyed support the State using law enforcement to provide access to Maunakea and to allow other projects to proceed around the state.

Three-fourths of the Hawaii residents surveyed agree that the Government should enforce the law and peacefully arrest protestors that break the law – commenting that many protesters are choosing to get arrested to make a political statement.

Maunakea remains the preferred choice for the location of TMT.

About the Poll

  • The mixed-methodology (online and telephone) survey was conducted by independent research firm Ward Research Inc. Total sample size was n=504 residents, 18 years of age and older.
  • The poll quota sampled for key demographic characteristics (e.g., age, ethnicity, gender, and island of residence). The demographics of the sample match the demographics of Hawaii based on Census data.
  • The margin of error is +/- 4.3%.

About TMT

The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Project has been developed as collaboration among Caltech, the University of California (UC), the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), and the national institutes of Japan, China, and India with the goal to design, develop, construct, and operate a thirty-meter class telescope and observatory on Maunakea in cooperation with the University of Hawaii (TMT Project). The TMT International Observatory LLC (TIO), a non-profit organization, was established in May 2014 to carry out the construction and operation phases of the TMT Project. The Members of TIO are Caltech, UC, the National Institutes of Natural Sciences of Japan, the National Astronomical Observatories of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Department of Science and Technology of India, and the National Research Council (Canada); the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a TIO Associate. Major funding has been provided by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation.

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