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‘COVID/vaccination issues’ puts enduring problems on back burner

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The following is a news release that was issued Oct. 21, 2021, by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.
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The coronavirus crisis understandably is front and center for most Hawaii residents, but other big issues still are mentioned in a new survey

HONOLULU, Oct. 21, 2021 >> Answers having to do with “COVID/vaccination issues” comprised the most frequent volunteered response to a new survey that asked what Hawaii residents consider their most pressing community concerns.

Commissioned by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, the survey was conducted Aug. 16 to Sept. 7 by Anthology, one of Hawaii’s most respected market research firms. It polled 933 randomly selected adults throughout the islands and asked: “What two or three things are the most important issues facing your community right now?”

According to Anthology, 63% of respondents mentioned “COVID-19/vaccination issues.”

Other volunteered responses included homelessness, 24%; the economy and Hawaii’s high cost of living, 18%; crimes such as drugs and violence, 14%; the high cost and availability of housing, 14%, concerns about tourism, 13%; traffic and the general driving experience in Hawaii, 11%; and unemployment and jobs, 11%.

Institute President Keli‘i Akina said one way to interpret these findings is that a lot of people are still focused on the state’s long-standing issues.

“Even with the COVID situation, many are still focused on the problems we had before COVID-19 came along,” he said. “As the coronavirus situation wanes, I look forward to our lawmakers resolving the more enduring issues such as homelessness, Hawaii’s high cost of living, the lack of housing and all the other important issues that have only worsened because of the coronavirus lockdowns.”

The table below shows the results of the top-ranked volunteered responses by state, Oahu versus the Neighbor Islands, and by each county. The colored areas highlight the statistically significant differences between the various segments.

As the table shows, Oahu residents are significantly more concerned with the homeless situation than residents on the Neighbor Islands. The same holds true for crime and traffic.

Conversely, Neighbor Island residents place a statistically greater emphasis on the “COVID-19/vaccination issues” category, the cost of housing, tourism and the lack of jobs.

Tourism-related issues were especially troubling to residents of Hawaii and Maui counties, with Maui County residents also showing a greater concern about housing.

Further details about how Hawaii residents responded to this open-ended question regarding their most important issues are available here, or by clicking the button below. They include data about age, household income, location of primary residence, education, union affiliation, employment, political affiliation, voter registration and more.

Utilizing best practices in sampling design, Anthology leveraged a mixed-mode methodology for the survey, which included both phone and online responses. A number of sample sources were used to achieve a representative sample of Hawaii residents, including a high proportion of voters.

The margin of error for the sample size of n=933 is plus or minus 3.21 percentage points, with a 95% confidence level.

As reported by the institute last week, this same survey found that a substantial majority of Hawaii residents think they are paying too much in taxes and would like to see them lowered. For more information about those results, please go here.

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