Poll: On key controversial issues, Hawaii not as divided as it appears

Published: Apr. 18, 2017 at 4:55 PM HST|Updated: Apr. 19, 2017 at 9:49 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new poll sheds light on some of the most controversial issues facing the state, and shows opinions aren't as divided as some might think.

The survey looked at public opinions on short-term vacation rentals, the Thirty-Meter Telescope, and death with dignity.

When it comes to the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea, 72 percent of likely voters said they supported it.

On the Big Island, 68 percent of residents said they favored it, 15 percent more than two years ago.

"Even on Hawaii Island, support is over 2-to-1 that this is a project that they don't want to see an opportunity lost for local kids there," said Kyle Chock, interim executive director of Pacific Resource Partnership, which conducted the poll.

The survey also looked at short-term vacation rentals.

The vast majority of vacation rental listings are likely illegal and un-taxed, but there is still no clear plan to regulation.

PRP's poll found 49 percent support online vacation rental services, like Airbnb. Some 46 percent said they don't and 75 percent said the state should only collect taxes from online rental sites once officials can ensure all listings are legal.

There are two bills before lawmakers still alive at the state Legislature. The state Senate version would prohibit homeowners from hiding behind the GET license of companies like Airbnb.

The poll also took on another hot button issue -- death with dignity.

The measure didn't even come up for a vote at the state Legislature this session, but PRP's poll shows overwhelming support.

Some 67 percent of voters would allow a terminally ill patient to end their own life. A proposal that the House leadership killed off this year.

And when voters were asked if they thought the state was headed in the right direction 47%, statewide, said no. The entire poll is now posted on our website.

The survey was commissioned by Pacific Resource Partnership, a labor management organization that represents the Hawaii Carpenters Union and all of its unionized contractors.

It's been tracking public opinion on rail and other issues for years.

The poll, conducted by Tulchin Research, included 800 likely voters.

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