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Thursday, May 18, 2000

Harris scores
higher rating
in opinion poll

His opponents, Hannemann
and Fasi, are undaunted
by their latest showing

Harris opponents on offensive
Cayetano performance rating low
Local GOP has a long row to hoe

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


Mayor Jeremy Harris continues to enjoy better favorable opinion ratings than his main political opponents, City Councilman Mufi Hannemann and former mayor Frank Fasi.

Forty-four percent of respondents in the latest Honolulu Star-Bulletin/NBC Hawaii News 8 poll said they had a favorable opinion of Harris. That is the mayor's highest rating since 1998, when he had 47 percent favorable.

Rick Tsujimura, a campaign spokesman for Harris, said he likes the numbers because he believes his candidate is winning voters from the neutral opinion column, which dropped to 30 percent from 34 percent in the previous poll in December.

"From our perspective, that's good given that there has been a lot of activity from the opposition," Tsujimura said, noting that Hannemann has begun actively campaigning and won endorsements from high-profile unions.

Art Harris is winning points in large part, Tsujimura said, because he has provided a style of government that encourages community feedback. He cited the city's vision-team process and the Oahu Trans2K project as examples.

"It speaks to the public's satisfaction as to what's going on at the city level."

Nuuanu resident Gary Jennings, 53, said he believes Harris is doing a good job and wants him to remain at City Hall.

"He's running the government efficiently; he's losing funds and still keeping everything running," Jennings said.

"Plus he seems to have his hands on everything. I don't know if that's good or bad but at least he's just not stuck up there in a white tower."

Mililani resident Lovelyn Kobayashi, 34, said she thinks highly of Harris for putting more buses on the street and because "he hasn't raised property taxes yet."

Phyllis Ludwig, 72, of Salt Lake once thought favorably of Harris but now does not.

"I voted for him, but I don't know; I just don't know him anymore," she said. "People can easily talk him into something. I don't like that about him."

Hannemann said the decline of 5 percentage points in his favorable opinion ratings, and a corresponding 3 percentage-point increase in the unfavorable category, are statistically irrelevant because the margin of error is 5.8 percent.

"We don't think there's a significant change," Hannemann said.

Hannemann said News 8's head-to-head comparison poll between Harris, Fasi and himself -- showing him 9 percentage points behind Harris -- was more reflective of numbers he has seen.

"We are within 9 points of a sitting incumbent who has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars," he said. "To me, that's phenomenal."

Kalihi resident Desmond Pescaia, 32, said he feels good vibes coming from Hannemann and his message.

"He's got some good points and I like where he's coming from and where. He seems to voice the opinions of the people."

Pescaia thinks Harris has not done enough to reduce crime or help the economy. "I'm willing to give the underdog a chance."

Nuuanu resident Gary Jennings credits Hannemann for "doing a lot of good in the community" such as a charity basketball tournament. He said, however, that he's been turned off by Hannemann's campaign so far.

"There's a lot of negative campaigning on his part," he said. "Everything Jeremy does, he's against."

Only one out of four Oahu people polled have a favorable opinion of Fasi.

Seven percent of people said they did not recognize Fasi's name only six years after he was last in elected office.

"The reason for that is you have a lot of younger people coming in and I haven't been in the news," Fasi said.

The former mayor also remains undaunted that he is running third in favorable name recognition, noting that his campaign is just getting under way.

"Give me another 30 to 45 days and I guarantee you I'll leapfrog over Mufi and it's going to scare Harris to death."

Like Hannemann, a large number of those polled -- 45 percent -- do not have an opinion of Fasi.

Ludwig said Fasi has had his day as mayor. "He should just bow out and stay out."

Pescaia said he has a very favorable opinion of Fasi. His actions from as far back as 30 years ago, such as his handling of TheBus, still have positive impacts on Oahu residents, Pescaia said.

Performance rating
for Cayetano remains
low; he will let
history judge

Star-Bulletin staff


Gov. Ben Cayetano's approval rating continues to be poor with Hawaii's voters.

Cayetano this year picked up a 60 percent negative rating (fair or poor job performance); last year, it was at 58 percent.

Registered voters were asked to rate the governor's job performance: excellent, pretty good, only fair or poor.

Those answering only fair or poor remained constant.

Cayetano's job approval rating has remained at 40 percent for about two years, according to Honolulu Star-Bulletin/NBC Hawaii News 8 polls.

This week, Cayetano said he was not interested in poll results to judge his popularity, saying instead, "I will let history be my judge."

The most recent poll was conducted among 426 registered voters statewide by telephone May 5-9 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Local GOP has a
long row to hoe

By Richard Borreca


Hawaii continues to be comfortable for Democrats, according to a new public opinion poll.

Art When asked if the Democrats or Republicans were closer to the mainstream of Hawaii voters, 66 percent said Democrats and only 15 percent thought Republicans were closer to Hawaii's political mainstream.

The poll was conducted among 426 registered voters by telephone May 5-9 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. of Washington, D.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points; for Oahu-only polls the margin of error is 5.8 percentage points.

Democrats have a slight edge on the neighbor islands -- 68 percent, compared to Oahu's 65 percent.

Japanese and Filipinos show the most support for the Democrats, with Caucasians and Hawaiians showing the least. But even among Caucasian voters, 60 percent say Democrats are closer.

GOP Chairwoman Linda Lingle acknowledged that her party has got a lot to do.

"We need to get the word out about our party platform and secondly to get attractive candidates running," she said.

Lingle added that she thinks she has done both.

"I would ask people in our state to look at the platform that our delegates adopted at the convention and who our candidates are."

Democratic Party head Walter Heen called the results a good birthday present for the local Democratic Party, which turns 100 this year,

"I think the economy is turning around and people are feeling a little more confident," he said. "It is only fair, if we got blamed for the slump, we should get some of the credit for the turnaround."

In 1997, the Star-Bulletin asked a similar question -- which party best represents your interests? -- and at that time only 48 percent said the Democrats were representative. At that time Hawaii was just entering the depths of its recession and the economy didn't look like it would rebound soon.

In 1998, voters were asked which party was most likely to solve the economic problems in Hawaii, and more than half said the Republicans.

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