Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Star-Bulletin, Hawaii News 8 Poll

Most believe
ouster of Bronster
is political

A Star-Bulletin/NBC Hawaii
News8 survey finds 4 out of 5
backed the attorney general

Aiea residents give Ige an earful

By Craig Gima


For Bryson Irie, the state Senate vote on Margery Bronster was all about politics -- and he doesn't agree with her rejection as attorney general.

"It sounds like there's a big political game going on and I'm not one for politics to begin with," said Irie, who works at The Gym on South Street.

Irie is part of what appears to be an overwhelming majority of registered voters who believe Bronster should have been reconfirmed and that politics and the Bishop Estate, whose trustees her office investigated, are reasons why she is not attorney general today.

According to the latest Honolulu Star-Bulletin/NBC Hawaii News8 poll, four out of five registered voters surveyed believe the Senate should have reconfirmed Bronster.


About the same number of people believe Bishop Estate played a role in the Senate's rejection of her appointment, and about half of those surveyed agree with Gov. Ben Cayetano's statement that "a deal was cut" between senators to reject Bronster and Budget Director Earl Anzai.

In the wake of the Bronster vote, four out of five voters also believe the attorney general should be elected rather than appointed by the governor.

Art The poll was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C., and is based on telephone interviews May 13-18 with 428 registered voters. The margin for error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

The results do not surprise Bronster because of the expressions of support she continues to get from the public.

Bronster initially said she didn't think people cared about the legislative process.

"Now I think people care very deeply," she said. "Maybe it's some of the legislators who don't care, and I think that's very sad."

Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D, Waianae), who voted against Bronster's and Anzai's reconfirmations, also is not surprised at the poll results -- but for different reasons.

"It's a lot easier to believe a deal was cut," she said. "It's a lot easier to believe someone else was influenced than to believe that someone actually studied the issue."

Hanabusa believes the poll results are a measure of the strength of the news media, and a combination of events that kept the estate and its trustees in the news at the same time the confirmation vote was taking place.

"The estate is an easy object to hate, especially in some communities," she said.

Sen. David Ige (D, Pearl City) said some people just don't want to hear his rationale for voting against Bronster and Anzai.

"There are some (callers) that are not really interested in the reasons and just believe the decision was wrong, and there's nothing that I can say that would persuade them otherwise," he said.

But Sen. Matt Matsunaga (D, Palolo), a strong supporter of Bronster, said the senators who voted against Bronster -- for whatever reason -- missed the point.

"I think that because Margery represented courage and change, and I think that people believe that a vote against Margery was a vote against standing up for what you believe in," Matsunaga said.

"Individual senators may have simply focused on whether or not they believed Margery Bronster was the right choice for attorney general.

"They have to understand the public perception is that the vote was much bigger than that."

Matsunaga said the poll shows it may be time to take a look again at whether the attorney general should be elected or appointed.

"An elected attorney general may be the only way we can fill the job now," he said. "I hear the governor is having a tough time."

Before the vote, Bronster opposed the idea of an elected attorney general. She still thinks the attorney general should be appointed still prefers the attorney general be appointed, but she said it may be time to look at the matter again.

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