Ferry’s fate should rest with state, most say
Although the state's four counties differ widely on how the Hawaii Superferry should be handled, a majority of Hawaii residents say the state and not the counties should have the say on where the ship goes.
For the detailed poll data and demographics, please click here.
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin poll on the Superferry, conducted for the paper by SMS Research, shows that 70.3 percent of Hawaii residents think the state and not the county should have control over whether the Superferry goes to their island.
According to the survey, 23.1 percent think the counties should have the last word, and 6.5 percent were undecided.
The biggest support for state control comes from Oahu, where most people live, with 78 percent backing state control.
Maui and Kauai differ.
More Maui residents, 47.3 percent, say that the county should have the power to say if the ship can come to their island.
On Kauai, 49.3 percent say give the responsibility to the state, but 43.3 percent say that the issue should be left to the county.
The Big Island also thinks the decisions about the Superferry should be left to the state and not the county. On Hawaii, 60.7 percent say the state should control whether the ship sails to Kawaihae Harbor, with 30 percent saying it should be left up to the county.
Big Island Mayor Harry Kim has said the ferry would be a valuable alternative to flying between islands, especially in times of an emergency.
On Kauai, Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, who is critical of the ship sailing until an environmental study is completed, said the issue shows that Lingle is not being consistent.
Lingle, who has been a strong supporter of home rule, or letting the voters decide issues county by county, has pushed for the Superferry.
"Although the governor has been the advocate for home rule, it is a contradiction that she will not listen to the people of Kauai," Yukimura said.
"I don't think people are saying we should have the absolute say, but, at least on Kauai, we are just saying we need to be consulted and taken seriously in our concern.
"Whether the stare makes the decision or the county makes the decision, the proper process is the EIS process because it tries to determine the impacts, both positive and negative.
"It is about right process, no matter who makes the decision," Yukimura said.
Lingle said she "wasn't surprised that Maui and Kauai track separately from Oahu and the Big Island."
The idea of the Superferry as a vital transportation alternative, Lingle said, is what has been driving her support of the ferry.
"It is important for this company to operate because of the service it provides the people, the option it gives all of us to travel: families, businesses and schools," Lingle said.
Looking at the issue by demographics, the poll shows that Hawaii residents with larger incomes are more likely to support the state controlling the Superferry's fate.
For those making less than $25,000, just 58 percent say the state should call the shots. But for those making more than $250,000, 87 percent put their faith in the state.
University of Hawaii political scientist and UH ombudsman Neal Milner says Hawaii residents could just be used to the state settling so many policy maters, that it would be natural to also look to the state to make the decision on the Superferry.
"It may be that people never thought of the issue that way, between the state and county. Also, Hawaii is fairly centralized," Milner said.
ABOUT THE POLL
The Star-Bulletin Hawaii Superferry poll was conducted Sept. 27 through Tuesday by SMS Research. A total of 600 telephone surveys were conducted statewide, 150 each on Oahu, Maui, the Big Island and Kauai. The margin of error is 4 percentage points for the statewide poll and about 8 percentage points for the individual islands. Statewide totals were weighted to reflect the relative population of the islands.