By Teri Okita – bio | email
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – One of the four candidates in the race for Honolulu mayor has jumped out ahead of the pack in the run-up to the September 18th election. According to an exclusive, new poll conducted for Hawaii News Now and the Star-Advertiser, Peter Carlisle is the clear front-runner, and he's ahead by more percentage points than his three opponents combined.
Of the 430 poll respondents, 49 percent say they'd vote for Carlisle, if the election for mayor was held today. 25 percent say they'd vote for Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell, followed by 11 percent for Panos Prevedouros and four percent for Rod Tam. 11 percent of the respondents say they aren't sure who they'll vote for yet or they refused to answer.
Carlisle told Hawaii News Now his camp is energized by the numbers but also feels he's now got a target on his back. He says, "Because that target's there, now you have to worry about: is somebody going to do negative campaigning or are there going to be those types of minefields in front of us? And you just gear up and get ready to deal with it, if it comes."
The other candidates may have some catching up to do in the final weeks, but they say the battle is far from over. Lex Smith, the chairman of 'Friends of Kirk Caldwell', says the more voters learn about his candidate, the more Caldwell seems to resonate with them. Despite the poll numbers, the campaign feels like it's gaining ground. "We have momentum on our side," Smith says, "Our internal polls also show us trailing but definitely within striking distance."
Panos Prevedouros finds flaws with the poll and has a hard time believing the numbers are real. "Well, to be honest, it surprises the bejesus out of me," says Prevedouros. "To have a poll that shows us at 11 percent, I mean, in 2008, out of nowhere, we came in and got 18 percent. And to assume that we have lost all of that and are down to 11 percent is a little hard to believe."
Hawaii News Now and the Star-Advertiser stand by the numbers and the polling methods. It was conducted by Ward Research between August 10th through 17th and has a margin of error of plus or minus four-point-seven percent. Only Oahu residents who say they are likely to vote on September 18th were asked to respond.
Candidate Rod Tam came in with just four percent of the vote but insists he's not disappointed or dejected. His reaction is, "It's not over 'til the fat lady sings". He goes on to say, "Polls change every single day, but we're campaigning, grassroots, around the island, and we'll continue to keep on going."
Respondents were also asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable view of the mayoral candidates. 46 percent say they have a favorable opinion of Kirk Caldwell versus 20 percent unfavorable. 67 percent give a positive rating to Peter Carlisle versus 15 percent unfavorable. Panos Prevedouros has a 26 percent favorable rating versus 35 percent unfavorable. Nine percent those who took the poll say they like Rod Tam versus 66 percent who give him an unfavorable rating.