HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – With about two months to go until the general election, Republican gubernatorial candidate Duke Aiona has to gain a lot of ground if he wants to beat either Democratic opponent Neil Abercrombie or Mufi Hannemann.
The last of three polls sponsored by Hawaii News Now and the Star-Advertiser asked 604 respondents: if the general election was held today, who would you vote for? The poll assumes Aiona will win the GOP gubernatorial primary in September.
In a head-to-head race with Hannemann, the former Honolulu mayor would take 54 percent of the vote to Aiona's 37 percent. Nine percent say they don't know who they'll vote for yet or they refused to answer. When pitted against Abercrombie, the former congressman also has a sizable lead, 53 percent to 41 percent. Six percent are unsure.
Ward Research, Inc. conducted the statewide poll August 10th through 17th. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus four percent.
Aiona says, whether he faces Abercrombie or Hannemann in the general election, his message will stay the same. "Both of them do not have the same vision I have. They do not have the same fiscal policy that I have, and they don't have the leadership qualities that I have. So, it really doesn't matter who it is."
While Hannemann campaigns on Maui, spokeswoman Carolyn Tanaka released this statement: "We are pleased that the numbers show we are in a stronger position to defeat Duke Aiona in November. We believe the voters are responding to our message that this election is about the economy and who has the experienced leadership to get Hawaii back on the road to economic recovery."
Both democrats admit they've got to get through the next few weeks first. In response to the poll, Abercrombie spokesman Jim Mccoy says "With all due respect to Mr. Aiona, we are concentrating on the September 18th primary election, just 25 days from today, before we start thinking about a general election match-up."
The former Lieutenant Governor has some definite positives going into the final months of this election season. Among poll respondents, he's got a likeability rating of 57 percent versus 31 percent unfavorable. That mirrors the favorable-unfavorable ratings of both Democratic opponents. Aiona trails on the neighbor islands, with Japanese voters, and unions but pulls in huge numbers of Hawaiians and Independents. It's those non-partisans he's targeting.
"It's anybody who has an open mind, really, and has some sort of independence and objectivity to life, in general," says Aiona.
For voters at the local lunchwagon in Mapunapuna, the choice for governor seems as varied as the kau kau menu board. Aiona definitely has supporters but also, some catching up to do.
Voter Allen Madreno says, "I don't know that much about Duke." But Stranten Stone, a supporter from Kalihi Valley, says Aiona's experience as Lieutenant Governor and as a judge should help. "I heard him speak before, and I like what he talks about."
Voters like Madreno and Stone should begin to see clear differences between the candidates, once the November match-up is finalized.
View the complete results of the Hawaii Poll