HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State Sen. David Ige, the Democratic candidate for governor, holds a 12-point lead over his Republican opponent, former Lieutenant Gov. Duke Aiona, in the latest Hawaii New Now-Honolulu Star-Advertiser Hawaii Poll.
The results show a large swing from Ige trailing Aiona over the summer to now being firmly in the lead.
The poll, taken between Oct. 11 and 18, show Ige with 47 percent of the vote, followed by Aiona with 35 percent. Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, an independent, trails in third place with support of just 12 percent of the people who answered the poll and Libertarian candidate Jeff Davis polled at just one percent. The margin of error is four percent.
Ige said he's encouraged by the results, but added: "The poll is just a single snapshot in time and we continue to work hard every day just getting out and meeting people."
The two candidates who are trailing Ige said the only poll that counts is on Election Day.
"Polls can be wrong,” Hannemann said. “And what I know and what our campaign workers know is that since the October 15th town hall debate on KHNL, we have felt a tremendous surge in momentum."
Aiona told Hawaii News Now: "We feel like, on the ground, the momentum is there for us and we're going to continue to advocate our position in this race, which is about jobs and the economy, cost of living, affordability."
But the momentum has been with Ige in the last three months. The last Hawaii Poll in July before the primary that found Ige trailed Aiona by seven percentage points, when Aiona polled at 41 percent and Ige had just 34 percent.
But since then, Ige has increased his support by 19 points and is trending toward a substantial lead of 12 points.
Ige explained he made up the difference by courting supporters of his primary opponent, Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
"Reaching out to organizations and groups of people that supported my opponent in the primary and talking about how important it was to really be successful in the general election," Ige said.
Hawaii News Now's political analyst Colin Moore, a University of Hawaii Manoa political science professor, said Aiona's conservative views against abortion and same-sex marriage have contributed to his decline in the polls.
Moore cited another reason for Aiona's decline.
"People have remembered that Aiona was connected to the Lingle administration and ads have talked a lot about furlough Fridays,” Moore said. “I don't think he's given a particularly convincing explanation for why he shouldn't be blamed for that."
According to the poll, Aiona is now losing in every demographic category except among Native Hawaiians, but even there his dominance plummeted from being 40 points ahead in July to just four points ahead now.
Since before the primary, Ige has made substantial gains among neighbor island voters (up 19 percent), Caucasian voters (increasing 22 percent) and younger voters under 35 (up 36 percent), according to the Hawaii Poll.
Ige has the highest favorability ratings of the governor candidates (59 percent), followed by Aiona (56 percent) and Hannemann (39 percent). Hannemann has the highest unfavorable ratings, according to the poll, at 50 percent, compared to Aiona's 34 percent and Ige's 26 percent unfavorable rating.
The biggest percentage of Aiona's supporters said they back him because his values are similar to theirs (43 percent) compared to 24 percent of Ige's backers who said values are the main reason they support him. Hannemann's supporters list leadership experience (57 percent) as the primary reason they are voting for him.
Twenty-two percent of Ige's supporters, presumably mostly Democrats, said his political party is the main reason they support him. But just eight percent of Aiona's supporters said political party was the primary reason the Republican has their support.
Hawaii Poll Tables: Click for a breakdown of the numbers: http://hine.ws/hp14govltgov