|By Derrick DePledge, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Ige, chairman of the
No governor has lost re-election since
Forty-six percent of voters who said they were voting for Ige were doing so primarily because they do not like the governor, a sobering verdict for the incumbent.
Abercrombie's job approval was at 38 percent, compared to 43 percent in the last Hawaii Poll in February. His favorability was at 38 percent, down from 45 percent in February.
"The governor's had difficulty almost since he started four years ago -- or three and a half years ago -- with his job approval ratings never making it past 50 percent," said
The Hawaii Poll suggests the primary is more a reflection of Abercrombie's unpopularity than Ige's impact.
"I think at this point what we've seen is someone come from very low recognition --
Former Lt. Gov.
"I think we need change," said
"They wanted a fair shake, and he never gave them a fair shake," Reis said. "That's not how a politician is supposed to act. You're supposed to help the people. I want a politician that's going to talk straight and then help the people."
Many Abercrombie loyalists are frustrated that voters appear to be judging the governor based on their disappointment with his personality and leadership style rather than his performance. For example, while Abercrombie imposed a contract on teachers in 2011 that included pay cuts -- the same as other public-sector workers -- a new contract negotiated in 2013 -- the year of the sit-in at
Forty percent of voters who said they favor Abercrombie cited his leadership experience.
"There's part of me that wants to just give him more time to do what he's set up to do," she said.
The Hawaii Poll in the Democratic primary for governor was taken by phone from
The hypothetical November general election matchups and job approval and favorability interviews were conducted among 612 likely primary voters statewide. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Abercrombie had led Ige 47 percent to 38 percent in the last Hawaii Poll in February, a nine-point gap that was surprising at the time because most voters were still unfamiliar with the state senator. Ige, according to the new poll, holds a stunning 18-point advantage.
Twenty-eight percent of voters said they had never heard of or did not know enough about Ige, down from 61 percent in February. Fifty-seven percent view Ige favorably, up from 30 percent in February.
The new poll found Ige dominant on
The split among traditional Democratic voters is tighter than the broader sample, with Ige up 51 percent to 40 percent. But Ige does far better than Abercrombie in union households -- 58 percent to 34 percent -- an important constituency in Democratic primaries.
Ominously for Abercrombie, his job approval rating was below 50 percent even among traditional Democrats -- 48 percent -- and was at 34 percent in union households.
Ige, who grew up in
"I can tell you that there's been a definite shift in the momentum in the last four weeks," Ige said. "You can kind of see it in virtually every phase of the campaign."
"Our internal poll numbers indicate this race is dead even," he said in a statement. "Our grass-roots efforts are surging, with key endorsements from President (
The upheaval among Democrats has already helped Aiona. The Republican's favorability is at 63 percent, the highest of any candidate tested in the poll, up from 58 percent in February. Fifty-one percent of traditional Democrats view him positively.
"I think the public just has had enough," Aiona said, referring to the federal, state and county levels of government. "I really believe that they're just kind of fed up with the elected officials."
Aiona said many voters "feel like their voice is not being heard," adding, "They're not being treated with respect."
Hannemann, whose favorability was at 39 percent, down from 45 percent in February, said poll numbers for the November general election would not mean much until after the Democratic primary.
"Our strategy all along was to wait until the general election," he said in an email. "We were the last to officially announce, have not done any TV or radio advertising and have not participated in any debates.
"Once we begin campaigning in earnest after the primary, we believe our numbers will move."
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