The results of a March survey of Hawaii residents purports to show that supporters of the Thirty Meter Telescope project outnumber opponents by a nearly 2-to-1 margin.
According to a poll conducted by Honolulu-based market research firm Ward Research Inc., 61% of Hawaii residents either somewhat or strongly support the TMT project moving forward on Maunakea compared with 32% who somewhat or strongly oppose the project.
The poll was conducted on a sample of 504 residents, selected at random, age 18 or older. Of those, 70% of respondents were on Oahu, 13% on the Big Island and 11% on Maui.
One question on the survey specifically targeted Big Island respondents, asking whether they think the failure of TMT will hurt educational opportunities for Big Island children. Forty-three percent of the Big Island respondents strongly agreed with that assessment.
Most respondents — 85% of them — thought themselves to be somewhat or very familiar with the TMT project, although only 7% were very familiar with the Office of Maunakea Management, the University of Hawaii agency that manages the Maunakea Science Reserve upon which TMT is planned to be built.
Most respondents reported that they think science and Hawaiian culture should coexist on Maunakea, and 83% agree the controversy over the project is not just about the TMT itself, but also about larger issues such as Hawaiian sovereignty and home lands management.
Another 68% support using law enforcement to provide access to Maunakea, and 66% agree that the situation is “getting out of control.”