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Public Policy Polling for Daily Kos. 10/2-3. Likely voters. MoE 2.7%

Neil Abercrombie (D) 49
Duke Aiona (R) 47
Undecided (R) 4

Former Democratic U.S. Representative Neil Abercrombie has a slim lead over Republican Duke Aiona in Hawaii's gubernatorial contest, giving Democrats a chance at picking up a governorship from the Republican Party. According to a poll conducted for us by Public Policy Polling, Abercrombie registers at 49% of the vote with Aiona at 47%.

As with most midterm contests, this race is going to come down to turnout. If turnout were like it was in 2008, the race wouldn't be close -- Abercrombie would be ahead by double-digits, 56-40.  It's worth pointing out that 2008 was an especially good year for Democrats in Hawaii thanks to voters turning out for President Obama who -- despite what Fox might want you to believe -- was born in the state. So it would be unrealistic to expect a full and complete return to those sorts of numbers. Nonetheless, even a modest narrowing of intensity between Democrats and Republicans would probably be enough to ensure Abercrombie wins the race.

On the topic of the intensity gap, Nate Silver takes a look at how to analyze it over at FiveThirtyEight's new home on Nate's basic assessment: there is a gap, but it's not exactly a function of depressed Democrats. Rather, it's a function of unusually excited Republicans. Nate says polling numbers show Democrats are actually more likely than usual to vote. It's just that Republicans are far more likely to vote than usual. That doesn't remove the problem of the intensity gap -- but it suggests that the challenge Democrats face is more about activating Democratic-leaning voters that typically don't have strong turnout numbers in midterm elections, typically young people and minorities. (Yet another reason why Walt Minnick's anti-immigration attack ad was both offensive and foolish.)

In addition to polling the gubernatorial contest, we also polled the congressional races in Hawaii. Yesterday, we released results for the congressional race in Hawaii's first CD, showing Democrat Colleen Hanabusa had edged ahead of incumbent Republican Charles Djou. We also polled the second district where Democrat Mazie Hirona has a substantial 55-32 lead over Republican John Willoughby. Abercrombie leads by 4 in the second district while he trails in the first -- despite having represented it in Congress.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:30 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  At least he's leading (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raatz, citizenx, nancat357

    I can't see an Abercrombie loss, with a Hanabusa win. Either they both win, or they both lose.

    People panic too much on this site.

    by thematt523 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:32:15 AM PDT

    •  Agreed (0+ / 0-)

      Although if the democrats lose this race the GOP is probably on track for about a 60-80 seat gain in the House.

      There has been a really strange dynamic in the polls the last couple of weeks. Before the GOP was crushing the Dems in the generic but the individual polls were pretty decent. Now the generic is closing but the individual polls seem to be moving sharply towards the GOP.

      The explaination is always the same. The pollsters continue to build huge GOP intensity gaps into the sample even though the narrative says this is narrowing.

      Unfortunately the only thing you can take out of the polls these days is the Democrats are either going to get destroyed or they're not.

    •  VERY Different Candidates (0+ / 0-)

      Neil is a very independent-minded, progressive politician who is well-known to Hawaii residents. Hanabusa is much less-known, a behind the scenes player, favored by the established, "Old Boy Network" Democrats around Senator Inouye.

      A reform-minded independent voter could easily vote for Neil for Guv, but vote for Djou for Congress. Kossacks might see Djou as just another teabagger, but because the Democrats have such a dominant position in Hawaii politics, some voters are looking opportunities to elect some Republicans as a balancing factor.

      If Djou is seen in the NATIONAL CONTEXT, Hawaii voters would overwhelmingly reject him. But if he is seen as helping break the Dems almost monopolistic hold on Hawaii politics in the state, he has a chance to hold the seat. Especially if he avoids the more outrageous antics of the Tea Party and religious fundamentalist groups.

      I think Neil will win and Hanabusa may very well lose.

      "... if I can lead you into the promised land someone else can just as easily lead you back out again." --Eugene Debs

      by Shliapnikov on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:49:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Undecided is a Republican? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, dougymi

    That's going to split the vote.

    I'd like my life back, too, Tony ____ Video and more songs at da web site

    by Crashing Vor on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:35:39 AM PDT

  •  Abercrombie is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hillbilly Dem, citizenx, Greasy Grant

    one of the good guys on LGBT rights so I'm really hoping he wins.

  •  Well, I know zip about politics in the 50th state (0+ / 0-)

    but the R has a name that uninformed semi-interested voters might go for. I can't help thinking about the legend, Duke Kahanamoku. The names aren't close, but when I think of Hawai'i, I think of the Duke.

    The Republican motto: "There's been a lot of progress in this country over the last 75 years, and we've been against all of it."

    by Hillbilly Dem on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:43:32 AM PDT

  •  Jed you also might (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cosette, FORUS50
    want to fix the typo in the title. And the Undecided (R) thing.
  •  Flu Shot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Duke's latest goof is telling the public to get their annual shot and then admitting he doesn't believe in them.  Compounding the error, he then announces he went out and got a flu shot.

    "You can't take sex, booze and weekends away from the American people." John K. Hanson, founder, Winnebago

    by hobie1616 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 08:53:58 AM PDT

  •  I have a hard time recognizing politics in HI. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fumie, Shliapnikov, hobie1616

    When I lived there (1977 - 1981) there was no legitimate Republican party to speak of.

    I remember Neil from those day s - he was then and still is one of the Good Guys.

    Go, Neil!

  •  grasping for straws (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All races close as the election gets closer, but come on. The only thing Dems are able to jump up and down about is HI, CA, WA, and MAYBE CT... look at the playing field and where they have to defend. Meanwhile, back in reality, the GOP will pick up PA, OH, and maybe Illinois. FLA is neck and neck. The wave is coming, and in all but the very blue states, the Dems are going  to get wiped out.

  •  Unions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If the unions come out strong, Abercrombie, Hanabusa and Hirono should make it.

    It isn't shameful to vote your own self-interest instead of the interests of multi-national corporations--iceman

    by fumie on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:13:32 AM PDT

    •  Definitely. (0+ / 0-)

      Particularly the SEIU union folks and the least skilled and educated union workers who depend upon the education and guidance the unions provide for even basic decision making, much less the most important decisions which are to vote for progressive people powered candidates. We need to make sure our base GOTV!

      •  The fuck? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        "...the least skilled and educated union workers who depend upon the education and guidance the unions provide for even basic decision making, much less the most important decisions..."

        What's that smell? Smells like...Redstate.

        •  Let me clarify. (0+ / 0-)

          When i say least educated I don't mean least intelligent by any means. I just mean that many jobs that are fortunate enough to be organized by SEIU are not folks who have college degrees. Of course that is not a measure of intelligence at all! I was fortunate enough to earn 2 Masters degrees but I don't think that makes me more intelligent that someone without a college degree, just means that I was fortunate enough to go to college.

      •  SEIU is Not a Factor in HI Politics (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        raatz, alanday

        SEIU has no presence here. The strongest union players are the public sector unions, Local 5-Unite HERE (the Hotel Workers Union) and the ILWU. The building trades also have some clout, but more based upon their funds than their ability to turn out their members.

        "... if I can lead you into the promised land someone else can just as easily lead you back out again." --Eugene Debs

        by Shliapnikov on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 11:54:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the information. (0+ / 0-)

          As I said I am not familiar with the people powered movement in Hawaii.  I also clarified that I do not equate educated to intelligence. Certainly some of the more intelligent voters and the base of our progressive movement in terms of votes are people who may not have been fortunate enough to attain the multiple degrees in sociology and political science that I have attained and which has provided me with my solid base of people powered intelligence.
          We certainly need to utilize all possible funds from union dues to get our message out that we are the party of federal minimum wage jobs, green jobs and extended unemployment benefits that resonate everywhere.

      •  Do less-skilled union members rely on Endorsement (0+ / 0-)

        I wonder about your assumption that less-skilled workers are more guided by the endorsements of their unions than more skilled? It MAY be true, but I tend to doubt it.

        I even wonder how we would test the hypothesis. First, can we agree on a ranking of relative skill among different unions? Next, even if we can measure how often a union's members vote in alignment with the union endorsements, how much of that can we attribute to the endorsement versus other factors, like income, ethnicity, place of residence, etc?

        I would suspect some highly skilled union members know fully well the importance of their union and respect their leaderships recommendations. I suspect that is also true for some unions of (relatively) unskilled workers. It might be that it is the quality and style of union leadership which better explains how often the members are influenced by the endorsements than the skill-level of the members. But you do pose an interesting question. Even if your choice of language is a bit awkward.

        "... if I can lead you into the promised land someone else can just as easily lead you back out again." --Eugene Debs

        by Shliapnikov on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 01:32:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ILWU as Case in Point (0+ / 0-)

        At one time, the ILWU was a very powerful force in Hawaii politics. Part of the power came from the voting strength of their tens of thousands of members, mostly among the plantation workers responsible for working sugar and pineapple, the bases for Hawaii's economy at the time.

        The ILWU leadership was led by a Communist core. Whatever the virtues (or not) of American Communists, they were disciplined, fearless and dedicated to the interests of the workers in a way few other union leaders could match. They also were dedicated to explaining the politics of the situation to the union members. In this way, they forged ties of trust capable of withstanding assaults from the plantation mangers, the banks and the newspapers controlling public understanding of society. In fact, for a long time, they had their own weekly newspaper, the Honolulu Voice, which was more trusted by a large segment of the population than the business-owned papers. (Talk about an "alternative weekly"!)

        The red-baiting attack on the ILWU was less effective in Hawaii than in the North American unions generally. The successes of the Hawaii Democratic Party in the 1950s and 60s was largely based upon the strength of the ILWU. In many ways, the "Democratic Revolution" combined elements of the New Deal and the Civil Rights movement simultaneously, modernizing Hawaii's society and building a broad working class.

        The children of plantation workers got a good public education, went to college and into good jobs in the private and public sector which had been closed off to them before. Just as in North America, the successes of the union movement and the shift away from centralized, "industrial" production, led to a decline in both class-consciousness and the relative strength of the union movement. Sugar and pineapple both "ran away" to low-wage, third world countries, where poverty and US backed dictatorships conspired against a strong union movement.

        The ILWU today is based almost entirely among SOME hotel wokers. As their power slips away, they have been forced to make deals with development interests in the hopes of jobs for their workers. They still have SOME influence in neighbor island communities where the tradition of plantation solidarity and memories of the notso recent social hierarchy still informs peoples' political views.

        The other Hotel Workers union, Local 5, currently seems to be doing a better job of instilling a sort of "class consciousness" among their members. And the members probably vote pretty closely with the union endorsements. But the membership is also largely of one ethnic group, overwhelmingly immigrant Filipino, so a great deal of voting cohesion is to be expected anyways.

        "... if I can lead you into the promised land someone else can just as easily lead you back out again." --Eugene Debs

        by Shliapnikov on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 01:52:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If Nate's analysis is right, what are the chances (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder, of premature Republican burn-out?

    Non enim propter gloriam, diuicias aut honores pugnamus set propter libertatem solummodo quam Nemo bonus nisi simul cum vita amittit. -Declaration of Arbroath

    by Robobagpiper on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:17:30 AM PDT

  •  Wow ! Close Races! Here are some questions... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Is there an anti-haole dynamic at work here? Neil and his running mate are both haole. Mufi Hanneman stupidly played that card in the primary. Is there some carryover into the general? Did Inouye pull that same crap behind the scenes during the primary campaign, like he did in 1986?

    Are a lot of Mufi's supporters backing Aiona? I have to say I've really been enjoying Mufi's comeuppance, which was 24 years in the making, but I also remember voting for Pat Saiki back in 1986 in the general. Are we looking at that in reverse?

    Given that this is a Hawaii race where people are often reluctant to cooperate with pollsters, why are there so few undecideds?

    How badly is Hanabusa being hurt by her State Senate job performance.

    Has an incumbent ever lost a congressional race in Hawaii? I can't think of one. I know Djou hasn't been in Congress long, but he is the incumbent.

    •  Most incumbents have been (0+ / 0-)

      Democrats, so there was no real reason to vote out incumbents. Djou can easily lose; after all, Hanabusa is on par with fund-raising, and Nate Silver predicted a 59% chance of her winning, even before this poll came out.

      Although Djou can easily win, the fact that's he's safe based on "Hawaii doesn't vote out incumbents" is very unscientific.

      People panic too much on this site.

      by thematt523 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:25:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hiram Fong & Pat Saiki were R's (0+ / 0-)

        Fong retired undefeated and Saiki ran for US Sen. against Akaka in 1990, at the behest of Pres. Bush.

        She crushed Mary Bitterman when she ran for reelection to the house in 1988. Neil won her vacant seat in 1990.

        Please understand I'm not saying Djou will win. I'm just asking whether his incumbency is an advantage or not.

        •  Incumbency is (0+ / 0-)

          ALWAYS an advantage. The country is massively pro-incumbent, with over 90% re-elected very year; usually more so.

          Obviously, Djou can win, but there is no reason why he can't lose.

          People panic too much on this site.

          by thematt523 on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:23:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  About Walt Minnick (0+ / 0-)

    Yea, I'm out here in his district, where I have to listen to his anti-democrat rhetoric.  He's all over the air (I live in northern Idaho, which means I get Spokane, Wa tv, and he's all over the air there, too!) with his anti Obama, anti Democrat, anti immigrant adds.  I am really going to have to hold my nose to keep from heaving when I cast my vote for him.  It's just that the alternative is SOOOO much worse.


    •  That shocks me. (0+ / 0-)

      I would have thought Minnick would have been championing his support of the leadership and the progressive people powered agenda. Particularly on issues like health care, cap-and-trade and comprehensive immigration reform, as well as of course LGBT rights. Poll after poll that Markos has provided show clearly that those people powered progressive items are extremely popular.

  •  Mid term ususally has lower trun out..but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I think the idea Democrats are not engaged and will not to turn out in this election is WRONG.  I think they will turn out in larger numbers than in other mid terms because of all the insanity the Tea party has brought to the elections. I hope I'm not wrong, but it's up to you Democrats. The base of the Democratic party is not the first time youth vote, It is people like me, 65 and a long time D voter, who votes in EVERY election.  I would like to see the younger voters to become the solid base of the party but that requires long term commitment to the Democrats, not a one time miracle vote. I know some on the far left are very displeased with Obama and Democrats, but you can't get EVERYTHING you want in 18 months, it take time and the Democrats need more time to move their policies forward. First time Democrats please VOTE this election. It's Congress who write the laws that affects your daily lives.

  •  Never been to Hawaii. (0+ / 0-)

    But for those who have or know the differences betweent the 1st and 2nd districts, were are the universities, the highest unemployment district and the highest population of LGBT people and the most diverse African-American districts? In other words, where do we have the largest progressive base that we need to GOTV in November?

    •  Largest progressive base: Neighbor Islands (0+ / 0-)

      For example, LG candidate Brian Schatz told us last weekend that Maui needs to "run up the score" for the Democratic ticket.

      A liberal is a conservative who's been hugged.

      by raatz on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 01:38:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  RGA (0+ / 0-)

    This was a case where the RGA was smart and came out with some very good and positive ads for Duke Aiona even before the Dem primary was settled.  The fact that Abercrombie is white will be affecting some of this, I'm sure.  This poll is only going to guarantee that the cash-flush RGA is going to spend more on this race; especially since and added bonus for them is that it could help in HI-01.  Barbour is trying to make up for the fearfully incompetent Michael Steele mess at the RNC and this is probably one place where he could do it.

    Currently Top Ten in Slate's Lean/Lock game!

    by greatdarkspot on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 09:55:07 AM PDT

  •  No, he is not leading (0+ / 0-)

    The MOE is 2.9%. The apparent margin is 2%. There is no lead. It looks like a lead but isn't one until he's 3 points ahead. Then we can say he is in the lead.

  •  Where's Neil's Act Blue page?? n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  FiveThirtyEight (0+ / 0-)

    Nate Silver moved to NYTimes?? big news indeed. the rest of the article is good too :)

    war is god's way of teaching americans geography. -ambrose bierce

    by sillyalicia on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 10:53:21 AM PDT

  •  so (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    after a primary where i'd imagine Mufi's best showings were with native Hawaiians, they just happen to go to another native Hawaiian (Aiona). Not a weird coincidence.

    Ras had Abercrombie up 22 in June, before the primary season and this is the first post-primary poll.

  •  I don't think these will be nearly this close (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The poll was almost exclusively Oahu voters which makes it far less reliable, IMO. I volunteered for the Schatz campaign for LG (he won), and while the haole/haole ticket is less than optimal, I would be shocked to see Aiona get more than 40% of the vote. This is the guy who walks around saying "Hawaii Belongs to Jesus".

  •  Did you really mean this: (0+ / 0-)

    Undecided  (R) 4

    If so, our chances don't look too good . . .

  •  FYI re spelling of state name (0+ / 0-)

    It's Hawai`i, not Hawaii.

    The name is technically not spelled correctly without the `okina, as noted in the University of Hawai`i Style Guide:


    A liberal is a conservative who's been hugged.

    by raatz on Wed Oct 06, 2010 at 02:12:01 PM PDT

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