Gov. Ige, Legislature Perform Poorly in Star-Advertiser Poll

September 26, 2019, 2:29 PM HST (Updated September 26, 2019, 2:29 PM)
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Hawai‘i State Capitol.

Gov. David Ige’s approval rating has dipped to 35%, according to a recent poll conducted by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The poll said 56% of voters disapprove of Ige’s performance, while 9% stated they were unsure how they felt.

Native Hawaiians proved most disillusioned with the governor, as the poll indicated a 74% disapproval rating among that demographic, while only 20% said they thought Ige is performing well.

Discontentment with the job Ige’s done proved also to be bipartisan, as half of all Democrats polled said they were unhappy with his work as governor.

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The Star-Advertiser polled 800 registered voters across the state during mid-September, utilizing the Mason-Dixon polling strategy. According to an article published by West Hawaii Today, the poll’s overall margin of error is 3.5%.

The State Legislature polled even lower than Ige, according to the Star-Advertiser poll, clocking in with a 27% approval rating.

Nicole Lowen, who represents West Hawai‘i’s 6th District in the State House of Representatives said those numbers are reflective of systemic problems Hawai‘i residents face year in and year out.

“There are a lot of problems in society, and people are always looking for someone to blame,” she said. “We sign up for that job.”

Lowen added that public criticisms are fair considering issues like affordable housing, homelessness and high cost of living, though trying to allocate blame appropriately between county, state and federal levels can be a tricky proposition with highly complex, long-standing concerns.

“We do need to do better,” Lowen said. “We do, as a group, need to have more political courage.”

She referenced specifically legislation introduced last year to ban the marketing of flavored vaping products geared toward children. The Legislature chose not to pass the bill, which Lowen said she found puzzling.

The opaque nature of politics, she said, can blur the reasons why things happen or don’t, why laws are passed or aren’t and who is ultimately responsible for damaging actions, or lack thereof.

Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and the protest against it have heavily influenced public opinion of Ige. Such may also prove the case with the state’s low approval rating, but Lowen said that speaks to a common misconception.

The Legislature was never directly involved with the permitting process, she explained. There are ways the Legislature could have inserted itself into issues like the University of Hawai‘i’s management of Mauna Kea, but for the most part TMT ran its course rather independently of legislative control.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations. He formerly worked as a community reporter for West Hawai‘i Today in Kailua-Kona from 2016 to 2019. Before that, he was a sports editor, sports reporter, and radio talk show personality covering college athletics in Iowa. He's won several regional and national journalism awards, at both the collegiate and professional levels, for breaking news, long-form feature writing, and his work as a sports columnist.

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