Poll has Hirono
leading primary

Her lead among Democratic
voters extends over islands
and ethnic groups

By Richard Borreca

Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono has a commanding lead among Democratic voters, according to a new public opinion poll prepared for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and KITV-4 News.

The poll shows Hirono as the clear choice of persons who said they were likely to vote and were either Democrats or leaning toward the Democratic Party.

With 44 percent of the vote going to Hirono, the second largest voter group were voters who said they were undecided, with 28 percent. Rep. Ed Case had 18 percent and D.G. "Andy" Anderson, former Republican legislator and city managing director, was third with 10 percent.

Hirono led on all islands and among all ethnic groups, according to the survey.

The poll was taken Aug. 21-28 by Market Trends Pacific, Inc. A total of 601 persons were sampled. The margin of error for the entire poll is plus or minus 4 percent.

Election 2002

Because of the smaller sample size of 248 persons who said they were considering voting in the Democratic primary, the margin of error increased to plus or minus 6.2 percent for the Democratic primary question.

Wanda Kakugawa, president of Market Trends Pacific, said the primary race appears convincingly to belong to Hirono.

The Japanese-American and Democratic voters, two groups usually considered the same in Hawaiian politics, are likely to come out strong and stick with the party, Kakugawa said.

In the survey, Hirono pulled 51 percent of the Caucasian votes and 47 percent of the AJA voters. She also had more than half of the male voters, but just 39 percent of the women voters.

According to the poll, however, her strongest base, with 57 percent support, is among union members, a group that she has actively courted. The state's largest union, the Hawaii Government Employees Association, recently urged voters to pick either Hirono or Anderson in the Democratic primary.

Voters who said they were independent were not asked about the Democratic primary, so those figures were excluded from the primary election tabulations. Also voters who said they were Republican or leaning toward the GOP were not included.

That makes a difference, says Case, who is predicting a victory in the primary Sept. 21.

"We were not surprised by the numbers. Hirono and Anderson have higher name recognition and have been in the mass media more," Case said. "From my perspective, Hirono and Anderson have reached their ceiling and there is tremendous potential for us, because of the large undecided.

"Also, the independent voters aren't considered and I believe they are our voters, and also I think, we will also get a fair share of Republican voters," Case said.

Anderson said the poll doesn't match other polls he has seen, including one exclusively of Democratic voters.

"No matter the outcome, I have and am enjoying the campaign. I can always retire saying, 'I tried. What did you do?'" Anderson said.

For Hirono, however, the poll showed her that voters are listening to her campaign. "I am grateful to be ahead, but I take nothing for granted. I am still going to work hard," she said.

"The polls I have heard about show me ahead, so my message is getting through to the people," Hirono said.

She has had the most public exposure of the three major Democrats as lieutenant governor for the last eight years. When she first ran with Gov. Ben Cayetano in 1994, Hirono says her support among women's groups was a deciding factor in helping Cayetano win.

In this poll, however, Hirono shows stronger support with men than women.

Upcoming Star-Bulletin
/ KITV-4 polls

Tonight: KITV-4 News looks at possible matchups for governor between Republican Linda Lingle and Democrats Mazie Hirono, Ed Case and Andy Anderson.

Tomorrow: The Star-Bulletin tells how you rate Gov. Ben Cayetano and Mayor Jeremy Harris.

Tomorrow night: KITV-4 News discusses what voters think about Democrats and Republicans.

Tuesday: The Star-Bulletin looks at public trust in government.

Tuesday 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.

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