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Democrat David Ige appears headed to victory in the race for Hawaii governor.
With just over one week until the Nov. 4 election, the state senator leads Republican Duke Aiona, a former lieutenant governor, 40 percent to 34 percent, according to a new Civil Beat Poll.
The latest numbers suggest that the contest continues to be a two-person race. Early voting has already begun.
Only 11 percent of voters favor former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann, the Hawaii Independent Party candidate. Libertarian Jeff Davis is at 6 percent while 8 percent of voters are undecided.
“I think it’s a pretty clear trend,” said Matt Fitch, executive director of Merriman River Group, which conducted The Civil Beat Poll. “Slowly but steadily, Ige coming out of the primary has increased his margin and, in my opinion, it’s very hard to imagine him losing.”
Civil Beat surveyed 1,221 likely voters statewide Oct. 16-19. The poll, which sampled 70 percent landlines versus 30 percent cellphones, has a margin of error of 2.8 percent.
Fitch said he expected Ige to continue to widen his vote margin over Aiona as the Nov. 4 election approaches.
“The Democratic Party in Hawaii has traditionally had a stronger ground game than Republicans in terms of get-out-the-vote efforts,” he said. “If they can produce the sort of turnout effort of two years ago in the presidential election, I can easily see Ige winning by 10 points or more.”
One indicator of Ige’s appeal to his party is that a larger percentage of voters who voted for Gov. Neil Abercrombie — 62 percent — in the Aug. 9 primary, which Ige won in a landslide, say they are going to back Ige in the general.
“It says that Abercrombie, when he lost, he held on to his base and that the more liberal Democrats now feel comfortable transferring over to Ige,” said Fitch. “Ige did well on his own accord but he also benefitted from crossover voters that wanted to oust Abercrombie in the primary.”
Only 53 percent of those who backed Ige in the earlier race will vote for him again.
Ige does better among both men and women, people over 50 years of age, military and especially union households, and all income groups.
Compared with Aiona, Ige also pulls more votes on the neighbor islands but attracts roughly an equal amount of support on Oahu.
Among ethnic groups, Ige is favored by Japanese-Americans and Caucasians. Aiona receives more support than Ige from Filipinos, Hawaiians and Chinese.
Ige and running mate Shan Tsutsui, the current lieutenant governor, are Japanese-American. Aiona and running mate Elwin Ahu, a New Hope pastor, are Hawaiian-Chinese.
In September, the Civil Beat Poll for the governor’s race showed Ige at 43 percent, Aiona at 39 percent, Hannemann at 8 percent and Davis at 2 percent. Eight percent were undecided.
Coming Tuesday: Poll results for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.