HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A poll conducted by SMS Research shows former U.S. Congressman Ed Case leading former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann in a hypothetical primary election race for the United States Senate.
The results show Case with a five percentage point advantage over Hannemann, who is ahead of other democrats seen as potential candidates, including U.S. Representatives Mazie Hirono and Colleen Hanabusa.
"It's certainly a great way to start a campaign. Of course all that matters is what voters do on election day, and election day is sixteen months away from today," Case said.
"This is a very encouraging survey. It was done by a credible local polling firm," Hannemann said. "It shows that I would be a very viable candidate for the senate should I decide to run."
Between March 18 and April 3, SMS polled 400 registered voters on Oahu and 100 each from the Big Island, Maui and Kauai counties.
Among other things it asked for preferences in a democratic party showdown for the seat being vacated by U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka after his term ends.
Political analyst Dan Boylan believes it would be a mistake for democrats to focus on just Case and Hannemann.
"Both had big losses this past year in 2010. So I'm not sure that the top of this race in fact is necessarily where we should be looking," he said.
So far only Case has officially declared he'll run for the seat in 2012, making it official Sunday.
"We don't know yet who's going to be in this race," he said. "There's fourteen months to the day when anybody has to say what they're going to do."
"I don't think there's any need to make a decision now just because Ed Case has declared and has traditionally always been the first one out of the gate," Hannemann said.
The poll has an error margin of about four percentage points.