Majority of those polled support Thirty Meter Telescope

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.

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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.

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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.”

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