Monday, September 2, 2002

Lingle leading
in poll over rival

Hirono and Case are
doing better than Lingle
on the Big Isle

Cayetano's reviews mixed

By Richard Borreca

Linda Lingle remains 12 percentage points ahead of her closest rival, Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, according to a new public opinion poll taken for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and KITV 4 News.

Election 2002

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The poll asks voters whom they would vote for if the election for governor were held now and the candidates were Republican Lingle against Democrats Hirono, Rep. Ed Case or businessman and former legislator D.G. "Andy" Anderson.

The poll shows that Lingle would get 43 percent of the vote and Hirono would pick up 31 percent, with a remaining 26 percent undecided.

If Case were the candidate, he would lose 45 percent to 27 percent. Anderson would also be defeated by Lingle, 48 percent to 24 percent.

The poll was taken Aug. 21-28 by Market Trends Pacific Inc. A total of 601 persons who said they were voters and were likely to vote in the fall election were surveyed. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Lingle's strongest supporters are in traditional GOP circles, such as private business employees, those earning $50,000 a year and more and among Caucasians. Lingle also appeared strong on her home island of Maui, where she served on the County Council and was mayor for eight years.

Hirono, however, appeared stronger than Lingle on the Big Island. Case also fared slightly better than Lingle on the Big Island.

Lingle said she was "pretty happy" to be 12 points ahead at this stage of the campaign.

"We haven't geared up our ground game yet, so we have a long way to go," Lingle said.

Lingle said she did not have a preference for which Democrat she would like to run against, saying that all three candidates "represent the status quo.

"In 1998, I think I was in error to think I was running against one candidate. The campaign was really between status quo vs. change," said Lingle, who lost to Gov. Ben Cayetano four years ago by less than 1 percent.

Wanda Kakugawa, Market Trends Pacific president, said the poll shows that Lingle is not a clear winner, and the race could become close before the November general election.

Hawaii is a Democratic stronghold, with 40 percent of the voters saying they are Democrats or are leaning toward the Democratic Party. But Kakugawa said more voters are willing to leave the Democratic Party to vote for a Republican in the general election.

"These people are saying they are crossing over. I think this is going to be a very interesting general election," Kakugawa said.

Hirono, however, says she is expecting to be able to win support from different voter groups in the general election and combine it with her union supporters.

"Let's face it, we Democrats have always come from behind with even bigger margins," Hirono said.

The big question mark so far in the race is the Filipino-American voters. In the general election questions, the poll shows that 40 percent are undecided about whom to vote for in a contest between Lingle and Hirono. In previous gubernatorial races, the Democrats have enjoyed strong support among Filipino-American groups.

Upcoming Star-Bulletin/KITV 4 polls

Tonight: KITV 4 News discusses what voters think about Democrats and Republicans.
Tomorrow: The Star-Bulletin looks at public trust in government.
Tomorrow night: KITV 4 News examines how important trust in government is to voters.
Wednesday: The Star-Bulletin asks about your take on the state economy and your pocketbook.
Wednesday night: KITV 4 News analyzes the issues that you believe pose the greatest threat to Hawaii's future.
Thursday: The Star-Bulletin looks at what issues pose the greatest threat to Hawaii's future.

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