Star Advertiser/Ward Research Poll Results on Rail are Highly Suspect

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City’s rail rendering

BY CLIFF SLATER – Sunday’s Star Advertiser poll conducted by Ward Research that said the public now favors the Honolulu rail project is highly doubtful:

Take the rail questions that were asked:

  • A majority of those polled, 87/10, agree that, “the rail project will end up costing a lot more than is currently estimated.
  • A majority, 50/47, disagree that the “jobs created will boost the economy so much that the cost of the project will be worth it.”
  • A majority, 48/47 disagree with the statement that, “the rail system will result in a noticeable reduction in traffic.”
  • A majority, 50/45, agree that, “something needs to be done about traffic, but an enhanced bus system is a better choice than rail.”

How then does the following make sense:

  • A majority agree, 50/45, that, “work should proceed on O‘ahu’s rail system.”

Either the voters are nuts, or the poll is wrong in some way.

Now, let’s look at two Star Advertiser stories, one from July 30 last, and the other, 15 days later, from August 13.

On July 30, the Star Advertiser wrote, “Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann holds a 43 percent-to-33 percent lead over City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House 2nd District seat, the latest [Ward Research] Poll shows.”

Only 15 days later, the Star Advertiser wrote, “Gabbard, the 31-year-old war veteran, had about 55 percent of the vote. Hannemann trailed with about 34 percent of the vote with nearly all the votes counted.”

From being 10 percent behind in the poll, Gabbard won the race 15 days later by 21 percent.

The Star Advertiser management should realize that poll results favoring the projects, policieis and candidates that the Star Advertiser favors, but which don’t get validated in elections, has a tendency to make us, as readers and customers, a trifle cynical.





  1. The SA has given up on even trying to feign respectability and insults the reader's intelligence with these "juiced" polls and reporting. And then wonder why they can't attract readers in a one-major-paper town. B. J. Reyes even injects “opinion” in his supposedly “fair and balanced report”: “Kirk Caldwell for the first time has taken the lead in the campaign for Honolulu mayor, bolstered by shifting support for rail and a “growing dislike” for his challenger, Ben Cayetano, according to Hawaii Poll numbers released today”. “Dislike” alludes to loathe or detest, but the poll taken was on “favorable or unfavorable” (unfavorable expresses a lack of approval or support). His choosing to insert “growing dislike”, with the adjective “growing” for emphasis, just illustrates how far some SA staff and editors will now stoop to curry favor with their base political pandering. Sadly, I thought Reyes was above this. We DO know the SA has already sunk to the lowest level.

  2. I would like to know how Cliff Slater can be pro-BRT now towards a very similar BRT plan that he rallied against in the early 2000s.

  3. Wow what a biased view when everyone knows Mr. Slater is anti rail and since when is 48%-47% a majority. I would love to hear an impartial view from someone who is NOT pro rail and NOT anti rail or even a candidate who is neither for or against rail.

    • How can you be not pro or anti anything that makes a mjor impact on your wallet and or the environment. I am anti anything that destroys the `aina. That goes for the law makers as well. Under this government we have become slaves to the dollar and big business because we must shop to survive. I'm not suggesting that we start living in grass houses again but at least there was a time when we were able to sustain our lives by what we produced and the land is quickly being poisoned and or covered by progress. You want a rail move to California. This was once paradise. It wonlt be for much longer. The world wanted to come to the islands because it was different from their world so why do you want to turn Hawai`i into what the rest of the world already is?

  4. Just look at Station 1, at the middle of the North South Road, only the Kroc Center is there. If it does not start at Kapolei Second City, what is the point? Look at where it ends, Ala Moana Shopping Center, great if you are retired and hang out at McDonalds. When this thing is built and not ridden, to pay for the costs, we should dock all the union members paychecks.

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