Latest poll offers little to reassure isle GOP


POSTED: Wednesday, March 31, 2010

While insisting that the only poll they believe in is on Election Day, hardly a politician alive will move without first checking the ups and downs with a poll.

So last week Rasmussen Reports, a well-known and respected New Jersey-based polling outfit, took a look at Hawaii, asking questions of 500 likely voters in Hawaii. The results are a fascinating glimpse into local political thought.

If you were a Republican getting ready to put on your April 15 Tea Party costumes to protest state and federal taxes, government in general and the new federal health care law in particular, the poll offered an especially bitter view.

Unlike the mainland where most voters oppose it, according to Rasmussen Reports, 66 percent of Hawaii voters favor the health care law. Fifty-nine percent say they don't want the state to challenge the federal law in court and 68 percent say they like the requirement that requires all Americans to buy health insurance.

Of course, some of that is probably because Hawaii has been the poster child for health care, thanks to the state law requiring employers to provide health insurance for full-time workers.

That law also means that Hawaii small businesses are going to get a big break, according to a provision of the new health care bill. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees get a tax credit of

35 percent of health insurance premiums for workers. That jumps to 50 percent by 2014.

According to a Sunday report by the Star-Bulletin's Gene Park, that is welcomed even by Sen. Sam Slom, the Legislature's own Tea Partying, tax-scolding Republican.

“;It does appear that for small businesses (the credit) is going to be beneficial,”; Slom said, although he noted that he didn't like the law, thought it would be too expensive and that Hawaii employers took care of workers even before the Prepaid Healthcare Act.

For the Hawaii GOP, the Rasmussen Report only gets worse. A staggering 77 percent of Hawaii voters approve of President Obama's job performance, while 52 percent disapprove of the job done by Hawaii's most popular Republican, Gov. Linda Lingle.

Finally, if you were planning to RSVP early for the Hawaii Tea Party demonstration on April 15, don't bother - there is likely to be plenty of room, as 43 percent of Hawaii voters view it unfavorably.

This poll shows the weakness of the present GOP position, and it will be up to the party leaders, not a poll, to find a way back.