Former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona, a Republican, is leading both Democratic challengers and the independent in the latest survey of the Hawaii governor race. Due to the deep Blue political leanings in the state, PPD is cautiously moving the status of this race to a “Toss-Up” rather than outright forecast a likely Aiona victory.
Polling in Hawaii, as is the case with another state outside of the continental U.S., is notoriously difficult to poll. However, Aiona has consistently polled strong since February of this year and, at this point, the outcome of the race appears to hinge upon the outcome of the Democratic primary, which will take place on Saturday, August 9.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie is deeply, deeply unpopular, and whatever early lead he had over state Sen. David Ige, has evaporated. That said, PPD is holding our “Toss-Up” rating in the Democratic primary, though sources say they believe the polling is fairly close to political reality.
|Honolulu Civil Beat/MRG||7/24 – 7/28||895 LV||51||41||Ige +10|
|Honolulu Star-Advertiser||7/21 – 7/29||458 LV||54||36||Ige +18|
|Honolulu Civil Beat/MRG||6/7 – 6/9||729 LV||48||37||Ige +11|
|Honolulu Civil Beat/MRG||2/12 – 2/15||643 LV||37||37||Tie|
|Honolulu Star-Advertiser||2/1 – 2/11||528 RV||38||47||Abercrombie +9|
The last time we examined the Hawaii governor race, Aiona had a larger lead over Ige than Abercrombie. But, now, the roles are reversed. Aiona has widened his lead over Abercrombie by 9 points, and in a three-way race the former lieutenant governor earns 45 percent of the vote, while Abercrombie earns just 30 percent.
|Poll||Date||Sample||Aiona (R)||Abercrombie (D)||Hannemann (I)||Spread|
|Honolulu Star-Advertiser||7/21 – 7/29||612 LV||45||30||14||Aiona +15|
|Honolulu Civil Beat/MRG||6/7 – 6/9||1078 RV||33||27||18||Aiona +6|
The independent in the race is making it difficult for either Democratic candidate to pull together a majority or even plurality of voters. Meanwhile, as Ige has seen his support increase, Hannemann has seen his support decrease. And if we can infer anything at all from the polling, it is that Ige is winning over voters who were apt to support the independent earlier this year.
|Poll||Date||Sample||MoE||Aiona (R)||Ige (D)||Hannemann (I)||Spread|
|Honolulu Star-Advertiser||7/21 – 7/29||612 LV||4.0||41||34||15||Aiona +7|
|Honolulu Civil Beat/MRG||6/7 – 6/9||1078 RV||3.0||31||31||17||Tie|
The 4-point drop in support seen in Aiona’s numbers is identical to the number of voters who would support Ige, but not Abercrombie. That could very well be unrelated, but it’s unlikely.
The PVI, or Partisan Voting Index according to Cook, is an almost-insurmountable partisan trend for any Republican opponent (D+12 in 2010 and D+20 in 2012). Similarly, Gallup recently released their new party ID by state survey, which showed a 24-point Democrat advantage in the state of Hawaii, though that is a stagnant number after years of increases.
However, Duke Aiona won in the statewide election when the Democrat advantage was still very significant, and since its adoption as a state, Democrats have run the statehouse for 44 out of the 55-year duration. Except, however, during a brief period when Aiona was Lt. Gov. Aiona. He is also widely credited for implementing moderate programs to crackdown and decrease the production and use of methamphetamine.
Drug use was and still is a huge issue in Hawaii.
The Hawaii Governor race is a winnable race for the Republican Party, almost akin to how Democrats feel about their chances of defeating a Republican governor in Kansas. Under the right conditions, with all of the political stars in alignment, it is certainly possible.