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Bush takes lead
President Bush is now ahead of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, according to a new statewide Star-Bulletin and KITV 4 News poll.
The numbers show a shift in Hawaii voters towards the Republican president. The new poll of 612 registered voters who said they are likely to vote in the election has Bush with a one percent lead. In August, Kerry was leading by seven percentage points.
The margin of error is plus or minus four points. The poll was taken Oct. 17 to 20 by Hawaii-based SMS Research.
The poll also shows that as the race draws to a conclusion, more voters are making up their minds. The undecided group shrank from 11 percent in August to nine percent last week.
In the 2000 presidential race, Hawaii was a strong Democratic state and Bush had only 37 percent of the vote.
Bush is winning 51 percent of the male vote in Hawaii, while Kerry is picking up 47 percent of the female vote. Bush also leads with more than half of the vote among those 35 to 44 and those 55 to 64. Kerry is strongest in Hawaii with younger voters. He has 60 percent of those 18 to 24 and 54 percent of those 25 to 34.
According to the poll's breakdown along ethnic lines, Caucasians equally support Bush and Kerry. But, Filipino-American voters are overwhelmingly in support of Bush, by a 56 to 36 percent margin. Half of Japanese-American voters support Kerry, while more than half of the Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian voters support Bush.
Gov. Linda Lingle, the titular head of the Hawaii GOP, said Hawaii voters are responding to Bush's strong image as a wartime leader.
The governor added two more reasons she thinks Bush is pulling ahead in Hawaii. First, a strong local economy is spreading more money through the state, and then Lingle herself just completed a swing through the mainland for Bush and was singled out by Bush.
"People feel the president paid a lot of respect to our state by the role they asked us to play," Lingle said.
"To come from a small state that hardly ever votes Republican and that has so few voters and to be given that kind of recognition makes people feel good about it," said Lingle, who flew with Bush on Air Force One to a campaign stop in Las Vegas.
Brickwood Galuteria, the Hawaii Democratic Party chairman, said the poll results mean Hawaii's Democrats have to work hard in the campaign's closing days.
"The stakes are high and I still have confidence that the voters in Hawaii will deliver.
"I will stand by our rich Democratic history and our confidence in delivering for Kerry," Galuteria said.
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