Hawaii voters are generally quite content with their top elected officials but the support varies by island, age, gender and income, a new Civil Beat Poll shows.
We surveyed 780 registered voters April 7-9, asking their opinion of U.S. Reps. Mark Takai and Tulsi Gabbard, U.S. Sens. Mazie Hirono and Brian Schatz, Gov. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and President Barack Obama.
Gabbard was the only one more popular than the nation’s commander in chief, garnering a 64 percent approval rating to his 60 percent. Hawaii loves its native son and up-and-coming congresswoman.
The poll included land lines and cell phones, and has a margin of error of 3.5 percent. The margin of error for Oahu-only respondents is 4.2 percent.
Caldwell was the next most popular with 52 percent of Hawaii voters surveyed having a positive opinion of the mayor.
The mayor did better on Oahu, with 54 percent approval, than the neighbor islands, 46 percent. But voters who had a negative opinion of him were also higher on Oahu at 33 percent compared to just 14 percent on the neighbor islands.
Ige, now almost five months into his first term, had a 49 percent approval rating statewide with 22 percent having a negative opinion and 29 percent saying they were unsure.
Schatz and Hirono surveyed similiarly with 46 percent positive and 32 percent negative for Schatz, 48 percent positive and 36 percent negative for Hirono.
Just 16 percent of Hawaii voters had a negative opinion of Takai, but 40 percent were unsure, reflecting his relative short time in office as a new congressman. Forty-four percent had a positive opinion of the former state lawmaker from Pearl City.
Looking at the poll results by island, Oahu is generally less happy with their elected officials than the neighbor islands.
A whopping 70 percent of voters surveyed on Maui, Kauai and Big Island have a positive opinion of Obama, compared to 55 percent on Oahu.
Schatz polled 9 percent higher on the neighbor islands and Hirono did 19 percent better in approval ratings.
Ige’s numbers were relatively steady when looking by island (just 4 percent better on neighbor islands).
Breaking the poll results down by age and gender reveal distinct differences among the candidates’ strongholds.
Gabbard, Schatz and Hirono tend to do best among older women, whereas Obama, Takai and Caldwell do better among younger men. Ige scores 17 percent higher among men, but his support is relatively split by age.
“Caldwell does better among younger voters,” said Matt Fitch, executive director of the Merriman River Group, the company that conducted Civil Beat’s poll. That bodes well for the mayor’s political future, because “time is on his side,” Fitch said.
Caldwell received a 66 percent approval from voters ages 18 to 49 compared to 45 percent of those age 65 and older. Sixty-four percent of men have a positive opinion of the mayor compared to 48 percent of women.
Takai got a positive nod from 52 percent of voters ages 18 to 49, just 2 percent more than those age 65 and older but still significant. He received positive polling from 59 percent of men and 40 percent of women.
On the flip side, 72 percent of women like the job Gabbard is doing compared to 61 percent of men. Age-wise, most of her support came from those age 50 and older — more than 70 percent — compared to 56 percent age 49 and under.
The age gap was more stark for Schatz, who received support from 55 percent of those 65 and older compared and just 36 percent from those age 18 to 49. Fifty percent of women thought positively of Schatz compared to 42 percent of men.
When it comes to income, only Hirono and Caldwell had the most support coming from the poorest voters. Obama, Ige, Schatz, Gabbard and Takai all received the most positive opinions from those earning $100,000 or more.
That said, for most of the officials the split between the three household income categories — less than $50,000; $50,000 to $100,000; and $100,000 or more — was relatively narrow.
Ige, Takai and Gabbard had the biggest gaps with Takai receiving a 55 percent positive opinion from the wealthiest and 29 percent from the poorest; Gabbard polling at 84 percent among the richest and 68 percent on the poorer end; and Ige receiving 61 percent positive support from the wealthiest and 38 percent from the poorest.
Check out the full results of Civil Beat’s poll on approval ratings below.