East Hawaii News

POLL: TMT Commissioned Survey Shows Support

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A Thirty Meter Telescope commissioned survey conducted by Honolulu-based Ward Research, Incorporated shows data suggesting that a majority of Hawai’i residents believe that construction of TMT should continue.

Results of the survey were released Monday. The survey’s margin of error is four percent.

A total of 613 Hawai’i residents over the age of 18 were surveyed via cell phone and land line calls in October.

The median age of individuals surveyed was 45 years old, and those polled were designed to match census data of local demographics.

Out of the 613 respondents, 15 percent are residents of the Big Island. Seventy percent of those that participated live on the island of Oahu.


A spokesperson for TMT told Big Island Now Monday that the survey was conducted as a public opinion poll to review the state-wide response to the project.

“With the four month break in construction, TMT wanted to see what the public sentiment towards the project was,” the spokesperson said.

Based on survey data, 37 percent of individuals polled state-wide “strongly support” moving ahead with the construction of TMT. Another 25 percent “somewhat support” moving ahead. Data also shows that 15 percent “strongly oppose” the continuation, while 14 percent “somewhat oppose” the project moving forward.

Forty-one percent of the 93 Big Island respondents “strongly support” resumption of the project, according to the survey’s data, and 18 percent “somewhat support” resuming work atop Mauna Kea.


On the other hand, 23 percent of those polled “strongly oppose” the continuation of the project and 16 percent “somewhat oppose” continuing construction.

Responses were also broken down by ethnicity. The majority of those who identified as either Caucasian (74 percent), Filipino (60), or Japanese (70) either “strongly or somewhat support” further construction of TMT.

Thirty-four percent of individuals who identified in the poll as Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian “strongly oppose” the project moving forward, and 15 percent “somewhat oppose” the continuation.

The survey also included statements on a five-level Likert scale, as follows:

  • There should be a way for science and Hawaiian culture both to exist on Mauna Kea.
  • TMT will help create good paying jobs and economic benefits for those living on Hawai’i Island.
  • TMT has followed a lengthy approval process, including permitting, community meetings and environmental impact statements so work should proceed.
  • Failure to move forward with TMT after following all regulations would hurt Hawai’i’s reputation as a place to do business.

Construction of TMT has been on hold since July.

Full results of the survey can be review online.

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