Support for President Donald Trump has risen to 91 percent among Hawaii Republicans — up from 73 percent in March — according to the latest Honolulu Star-Advertiser Hawaii Poll.
The jump is in spite of the ongoing special counsel investigation into the president’s ties to Russia, political fallout from Trump’s now abandoned policy of separating children and parents caught crossing the border illegally and a steady drumbeat of criticism of the president from media pundits and Democratic politicians.
Meanwhile, Democrats’ disapproval of the president has become more entrenched with 89 percent of those polled disapproving of his job performance, up from 84 percent in March.
Overall, 37 percent of those surveyed statewide approve of Trump’s job performance, versus 55 percent who disapprove, while 8 percent are not sure.
The Hawaii Poll, conducted July 6-11 on cellphones and landlines by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, included 800 registered Hawaii voters statewide. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. The March poll was conducted March 13-18 and included 800 registered Hawaii voters statewide, and the margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Republican support for Trump in Hawaii mirrors national levels and suggests that as Trump approaches the midway mark of his presidential term, the initial discomfort a portion of Republicans had with him has abated.
Shirlene Ostrov, chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party, attributes the uptick in support to the president’s conservative policies, whether it be on foreign policy, the economy or immigration, but thinks it’s also due to the behavior of Democrats. She said the onslaught of Democratic opposition to the president and his policies has likely served to shore up the president’s base.
“The resistance agenda of the opposition is wearisome,” said Ostrov. “People are getting tired of the resistance agenda — just resist anything that the administration does, whether it is the biggest tax cut in the history of our country, it’s resist. If it is trying to force peace with North Korea, resist. If it’s support strong immigration policies and borders, resist.”
Sam Slom, who for years was the lone Republican in the Hawaii Senate, agreed, saying that the “daily and constant attack on the president for whatever he does or whatever he says” had firmed up his support among the party. “It is one thing to be critical of ill-formed statements and midnight tweets; it is another thing to oppose everything,” he said.
Slom said Republicans also like Trump’s follow- through on campaign promises.
“I think that the people who did not like President Trump like the fact that he is consistent and what he says he does, for the most part,” said Slom. “They may not like the way he says it, but I think people have gotten used to it.”
Support for Trump is slightly higher on Oahu than the neighbor islands, with 39 percent of those surveyed on Oahu saying they approve of the president’s job performance, versus 33 percent on the neighbor islands. Trump’s support is highest among men and Caucasians and lowest among Japanese, with only 26 percent of those surveyed saying they approve of the president’s job performance.
The president has also won over more independent voters in recent months, with 46 percent of those surveyed saying they approve of his job performance, versus 36 percent in March.
The rise in support for Trump comes on the heels of extensive media coverage on his policy of separating children and parents caught crossing into the country illegally, which caused a firestorm of controversy.
Ostrov, whose parents immigrated to this country from the Philippines, said that Republicans support Trump’s overall tough stance on enforcing the country’s immigration laws.
“My parents are immigrants, and so I can see their community and friends are like absolutely, we should have tough immigration laws. Absolutely,” she said. “Because why would you stand in line at the grocery store and let everybody be cutting in? … There are other people standing in line doing it the right way, trying to get through as well.”
While Republican support for Trump has risen, overwhelming opposition among Democrats and about half of independent voters doesn’t appear to be budging.
Tomas Carvin, a retired tomato farmer on the Big Island who participated in the survey, compared Trump to the likes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. “We need to stop him now before he gets out of control,” he said. “This is tragic. This is tragic what is going down.”
Asked if there were specific things he didn’t like about Trump, Carvin said, “Everything.”
Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll for Trump and Ige approval ratings by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd