HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Both Neil Abercrombie and Duke Aiona are feeling the love from voters.
When it comes to likeability, it's a draw between the two candidates. In an exclusive poll, Hawaii News Now and the Star-Advertiser asked voters what they thought of candidates running in major races.
61 percent of very likely voters had a favorable opinion of Democratic candidate Neil Abercrombie. 35 percent answered unfavorably. The numbers are almost identical for GOP candidate Duke Aiona - 60 percent versus 34 percent. Breaking it down, Aiona pulls in more Hawaiian, Caucasian, neighbor island, and youth votes while Abercrombie is stronger with seniors, Japanese, Filipino, and Oahu respondents.
While Abercrombie is pleased with the results, he had this reaction "Our campaign of reaching out to everyone on the basis of diversity is defining us rather than dividing us. We're not looking to divide up into categories. We're looking to unite everybody around the idea of embracing change."
Aiona says, "It really is about who is being honest with the people of the state of Hawaii right now. So, I'm optimistic. Again, we're going to work hard these last eight days, and I believe, in the end, the people of Hawaii are going to see the difference, and they're going to make the right selection."
The divide between their running mates was wider. Slightly more than a third of respondents, 36 percent, had a favorable opinion of Republican Lynn Finnegan. A quarter responded unfavorably, and another quarter has never heard of her. More than half the respondents, 51 percent, had a favorable opinion of Democratic opponent Brian Schatz, 22 percent unfavorable, and 18 percent had never heard of him. 608 voters responded statewide. The margin of error is plus or minus four points.
A smaller sample of 399 voters was taken for the first Congressional district poll. 55 percent of very likely voters in that district had a favorable opinion of Republican Charles Djou versus 39 percent unfavorable. Half the respondents like Democrat Colleen Hanabusa while 45 percent had an unfavorable opinion. The margin of error is plus or minus four-point-nine percent - making likeability a statistical tie in that race.
In the second Congressional district race, it's known versus unknown. 67 percent like Democrat Mazie Hirono and 19 percent have an unfavorable opinion. Her Republican challenger, John Willoughby, has an eight percent likeability rating versus 10 percent unfavorable rating, but 68 percent responded that they've never heard of Willoughby. 192 voters responded in that poll, and it has a seven-point-one percent margin of error.
Ward Research conducted this poll October 12th through 19th. Judging from the responses, it will go down to the wire for some of these candidates.