Poll: Guam residents say expansion will add jobs
TOKYO — About four in five Guam residents believe the U.S. military’s planned expansion on the island would add jobs and bolster tax revenues in coming years, according to a poll by the Guam Chamber of Commerce.
Nearly 60 percent of those polled felt the arrival of 8,000 U.S. Marines and their families from Okinawa would have a positive effect, according to the poll.
Yet 41 percent also expressed caution about the buildup, which is expected to triple the amount of military personnel by 2014.
When asked how the increase in military would affect quality of life, 19 percent answered negatively, and 22 percent said they were unsure, according to poll results released by the chamber.
The poll surveyed 500 residents during a week in late January and early February, according to Joey Crisostomo, who chairs the group’s Armed Forces Committee.
Overall, 71 percent of respondents said they supported the increased military while 13 percent said they opposed it, 11 percent said they were indifferent, and 5 percent were unsure.
The survey was the second in as many years conducted by the chamber, which supports the military’s plans, said Crisostomo. The recent results were almost identical to the 2007 poll.
"Basically, it’s a reaffirmation that the buildup and the military presence in general is good for the island and good for the community," Crisostomo said during a telephone interview Tuesday.
The poll was conducted by QMark Research, a Guam-based company. Its margin of error was 4.4 percentage points. The chamber declined to share a copy of the poll or its complete results with Stars and Stripes.
Crisostomo said respondents were asked their opinion of three things: the buildup, the buildup’s contribution to the local economy, and the effect of added troops on the quality of life on Guam.
Guam Sen. Benjamin Cruz proposed a public referendum that would allow voters to weigh in on the increase in troops. The proposal is set for a public hearing in April, according to Cruz.