Donna Mercado Kim continues to lead the crowded contest for Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, according to a Civil Beat Poll.
But Mark Takai remains in the hunt, trailing Kim 30 percent to 24 percent among voters who said they intend to vote Democrat in the primary.
Four other candidates in the Democratic primary polled in single digits. The number of undecided voters is 23 percent.
Civil Beat surveyed 416 registered voters who live in the 1st District, which covers the urban areas of the City & County of Honolulu. Of those, 259 said they planned to vote Democrat in the Aug. 9 primary. The margin of error was 6.1 percent.
Hood cautioned that the poll’s sample size is “relatively smaller” than ones for statewide races, and the margin of error is larger.
“But even with that, it clearly looks like a race between state Sen. Kim and state Rep. Takai,” he said.
This is the second time Civil Beat has surveyed the 1st Congressional race. In February, Kim lead Takai 25 percent to 20 percent. Thirty-six percent were undecided.
The other four Democrats we polled May 18-19 were state Sen. Will Espero and Honolulu City Councilmen Ikaika Anderson, Stanley Chang and Joey Manahan.
We did not include community activist Kathryn Xian in either poll, nor two other Democrats who have pulled papers for the CD1 race but not yet filed. Neither is well known.
Kim and Takai seem to benefit from name recognition due to their experience in politics.
Kim, the state Senate president, has held elective office longer than all her competitors — 32 years. Takai has been a state House representative since 1994.
Both candidates have also fared well at raising campaign funds, as has Chang. They are the only three candidates in the race thus far to have aired television advertisements.
Kim and Takai did not differ dramatically among the demographic groups representing gender, labor affiliation and ideological preference. But 30 percent of female voters have not made up their mind on the CD1 race, as compared with just 16 percent of males.
A few other things stand out.
Kim, whose ancestry includes Korean, Filipino and Chinese, drew the most support from whites, Filipinos, Hawaiians and Chinese. Takai, a Japanese American, did best among Japanese voters. Large percentages of Filipinos and Japanese say they are still unsure who they’ll vote for.
Takai did best among voters earning $100,000 or more in income, while Kim did best with those earning less than that amount. Kim, 61, did best with voters over 50 years of age, Takai, 46, with those under.
Both candidates draw roughly equal numbers from liberal-progressives, moderates and conservatives.
Takai is the only military veteran in the Democratic field, yet Kim draws more support from that group, suggesting that voters may not be fully aware of Takai’s service record.
Conservative views and a military background could be important in the primary and general election for the Democratic nominee, since former U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, a Republican and veteran, is expected to be the GOP’s preferred candidate.
Our latest survey of the U.S. Senate Democratic primary race ran Monday. Next week we will publish polls on the races for Hawaii governor and lieutenant governor.