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Civil Beat-HNN poll: Despite partisan divide, support for COVID-19 orders is broad

Updated: May. 27, 2020 at 6:55 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state’s stay-at-home and mandatory traveler quarantine rules have broad support among Hawaii voters — with 7 in 10 approving of the orders and nearly 80% saying they were effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19, according to a new HNN-Civil Beat poll.

But the poll also highlights a partisan divide.

Hawaii Republicans, who make up a minority of the electorate in Hawaii, were significantly less likely to support the orders overall. And they were far more likely to consider economic recovery efforts more important than containing the virus moving forward.

That aligns with the messaging coming out of the Trump White House.

In the survey, participants were asked what was more important to them — stopping COVID-19 in Hawaii, even if that meant further economic pain, or stopping the spiral of Hawaii’s economy, even if that meant more infections.

Among all voters, 61% said stopping the virus was more important.

But among Republicans, the figures were flipped: Just 30% said fighting COVID-19 was more important than focusing on the economy and 59% supported focusing on the economy even if that meant more infections.

Civil Beat-HNN poll
Civil Beat-HNN poll(Hawaii News Now)
Civil Beat-HNN poll
Civil Beat-HNN poll(Hawaii News Now)

University of Hawaii political science Professor Colin Moore said while the partisan divide is a national phenomenon, he’s surprised that more people didn’t side with the economy given how bad Hawaii has been impacted.

The state’s economy is slowly reopening as the number of new COVID-19 cases remains low. But the shutdown triggered historic unemployment levels and a huge deficit, and recovery is projected to take years.

“Pretty much everything people filter through their partisanship and so even something like a disease end up being interpreted one way or another depending on which side of the partisan divide you are,” he said.

Civil Beat-HNN poll
Civil Beat-HNN poll(Hawaii News Now)
Civil Beat-HNN poll
Civil Beat-HNN poll(Hawaii News Now)
Civil Beat-HNN poll
Civil Beat-HNN poll(Hawaii News Now)

Interestingly, amid conversations statewide about how to reboot tourism safely, 80% of Hawaii voters supported tracking visitors who come to the islands to ensure they’re following quarantine rules.

The poll was conducted by MRG Research from May 18-20, and surveyed 1,533 registered voters statewide using landlines, cell phones and online questionnaires. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5%.

MRG Research managing partner Matthew Fitch noted that while the emergency orders that shut down the state have gotten support, that hasn’t translated into greater favorability ratings for Gov. David Ige or Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

In fact, as HNN reported Tuesday, Hawaii voters have negative views of the two.

“Ige and Caldwell may well be victims of their own policy success,” Fitch said, in an interview with Civil Beat. "The people (voters) don’t like are the exact same people who implemented the policies they approve of.”

Civil Beat-HNN poll
Civil Beat-HNN poll(Hawaii News Now)

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