Survey Represents First Collaboration Between Business and Labor in Support of More Affordable Lifestyles for Hawaii Residents

Honolulu (Nov. 14, 2013) – Nine out of 10 Hawaii voters believe that the U.S. military’s presence in the Islands is important to the state’s economy, and a solid majority – 77 percent – supports continued military training exercises in Hawaii, according to a first-ever sentiment survey conducted for the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Hawaii Business Roundtable and The Pacific Resource Partnership.

The inaugural Hawaii Perspectives survey also found that the electorate is very cautious in its economic outlook. And although there was broad agreement that residents are better off now than they were a year ago, few believe that the good times will last.

Voters were pessimistic about the cost of living, traffic and the availability of housing that local families can afford. “While the findings were significant, what’s really important is that the Hawaii Perspectives survey gives us a framework to track our progress on issues that concern residents and impact the future of our state,” noted John White, executive director of PRP. “The survey also represents the first collaboration between business and labor to support policies at the state and local level that help create more affordable lifestyles for Hawaii residents.”

The military is one of the state’s key economic drivers. Military spending in Hawaii totals $8.8 billion annually, including $2.4 billion in military contracts for construction, supplies and services. The sector generates 102,000 local jobs and pumps $14.7 billion in direct and indirect spending into state coffers.

“The military’s importance to Hawaii should not be taken for granted,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. “That’s why the Chamber’s Military Affairs Council will expand its reach, inviting participation statewide from different business sectors and labor, to more proactively advocate, partner and problem solve to promote and preserve military missions and installations in the state.

Menor-McNamara added that in previous years, Senators Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka used their political seniority and influence to protect against adverse actions by Congress and the Pentagon to reduce Hawaii’s defense footprint and end its strength.

Their high-level of oversight enabled Hawaii to be the domestic forward deployed focal point of our nation’s strategic pivot to the Pacific. “Without this level of political seniority, the Military Affairs Council must adopt a more proactive strategy to maintain the current military presence in Hawaii,” she said.

“We look forward to working with the Chamber and PRP to build a broad coalition to develop and implement strategies to promote and preserve a strong military presence in Hawaii,” said Harry Saunders, former chair of the Hawaii Business Roundtable’s Executive Committee.

Key findings from the Hawaii Perspectives survey include:

  • 92% of voters believe the military’s presence is important to Hawaii’s economy
  • 77% support military training exercises in Hawaii
  • 39% say their family’s income is tied to the military’s presence in Hawaii
  • 46% believe the economy is getting better while 45% believe it is getting worse
  • 42% believe that the economy/jobs and traffic are the more pressing issues facing
  • Hawaii
  • 37% believe the business sector will enjoy mostly good times in the next 12 months
  • while 36% believe mostly bad times are ahead
  • 42% believe it is a good time for people to make a major household purchase while
  • 38% believe it is a bad time
  • 82% feel the cost of living is getting worse
  • 82% believe traffic is getting worse
  • 78% feel that the availability of housing that local families can afford is getting worse

The Hawaii Perspectives survey also included a Hawaii Consumer Confidence Index, which measures the degree of optimism relating to the state’s economy that consumers are expressing through their attitudes on spending and business conditions. The local index was modeled after the University of Michigan’s well-known Consumer Confidence Index. The Hawaii Consumer Confidence Index was 82.5 as of Oct. 1. The national consumer sentiment index for October was 72.3. Both measures were taken before the government shutdown.

Results from the Hawaii Perspectives survey are based on telephone interviews conducted Sept. 26 – Oct. 1with a random sample of 700 registered voters in Hawaii. The margin of error is +/- 4.0 percentage points.

CLICK HERE  to view the full survey report findings.