Poll shows whopping support for buildup - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Poll shows whopping support for buildup

by Lannie Walker

Guam - A pro-buildup group released a poll that shows a majority of Guamanians are in support of the buildup. KUAM News takes a closer look at the survey and conduct our own un-official poll on how residents really feel about the military realignment.  

It's probably one of the most hotly debated topics on Guam: are you for or against the military buildup? The pro-buildup group Para Hita Todu or (For All of Us) recently commissioned a poll on the topic. The results show only 16% of those who participated do not support the buildup. 

Dededo mayor Melissa Savares is the chairperson of Para Hita Todu, with the poll having been conducted in the first week of June. "It wasn't enough time to get more than that what we had a certain time frame that we worked with and that was the number of people. Of course it helps gauge but it would give us idea of the 350 people that were polled," the mayor pointed out.

The poll showed supporters tended to be more evenly divided across age groups, less likely to have lived on Guam all their lives and more likely to be employed by a private business. Opponents, on the other hand, according to the poll tend to be younger, Chamorro, and living in south. The results of the poll conducted by Market Research & Development Inc. show that 60 percent of the community is in support of the buildup so we decided to hit the streets and find out for ourselves.

Out of the 34 people we asked, 8 were for the buildup, and 7 of those we asked were against it. 10 declined comment on the matter, while 4 just didn't seem to care and 5 we talked to weren't sure.

But it might be a question that is hard to answer yes or no to. Member of We Are Guahan Leevin Camacho seems skeptical of the poll pointing out it's a complicated question, saying, "I think there may be people on Guam who are in favor of the buildup but are also concerned about things like Pagat like traffic, like the hospital, like the schools - you are in favor of the buildup but you also have these reservations."

And then there is the matter of who conducted the poll. MR&D was contracted to carry out the poll. Jay Merrill is president of the company and also a supporter of Para Hita Todu, the group which commissioned the poll. He tells us the polls were conducted using a computer program that randomly selects telephone numbers and stands by the results, saying they will be sent to the U.S. Congress to demonstrate Guam's support of the buildup.

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