Friday, February 23, 1996
As a snapshot of community opinion, The Hawaii Poll has significantly increased our understanding of how the concept of Hawaiian sovereignty is regarded in our community at large.
Last November, in a landmark survey of the attitudes of Hawaiians only, we learned that while the philosophical idea of sovereignty as popular, they were far from convinced that it would become a reality.
Now the poll has sampled the state's population at large on the same question, and found much the same feeling, if less intense. It found more backers than detractors for the idea of sovereignty, with about one-third opposed to the notion, compared to about one-fourth opposed among Hawaiians alone.
The message seems clear: The movement toward sovereignty will gain strength only if it is clear that it will help more than hurt our total island society.
That's a message the most active sovereignty proponents must sell over and over again. Hawaiians are no more anxious than anyone else to see the sovereignty movement divide or upset our community; and the rest of the community seems sympathetic and ready at least to listen to their cause.
In all, it's a hopeful indication. We've said all along that Hawaiian self-determination can be a powerful tool for improving the social and economic lot of our first citizens, and that it doesn't have to divide us.
It appears most people agree.
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