State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim is the frontrunner in the 1st Congressional District contest, running ahead of Lt. Gov. Doug Chin 26 percent to 19 percent.
But according to the Civil Beat Poll, nearly one-third of those surveyed say they are unsure who they will vote for. For those under the age of 50, the uncertainty is even greater — 43 percent.
“My takeaway is nobody under the age of 50 knows any of these people, and it’s going to come down to turnout,” said Matt Fitch, executive director of Merriman River Group, which conducted the poll May 3-5. “If it is the usual suspects that turn out — the older electorate — Kim and Chin are doing very well.
“But the age thing is everything, and neither one of them are exciting voters under 50.”
Fitch cautioned that it is still early to draw too much inference from a poll in an election that is not until Aug. 11.
But state Reps. Beth Fukumoto and Kaniela Ing, both of the Millennial Generation (that is, born roughly between 1981 and 1996), drew twice the support that Kim and Chin attracted from those under 50. Kim is in her 60s and Chin is in his 50s.
Fukumoto polled in third place with 11 percent, while Ing was fourth with 8 percent. Also in the CD1 race is Honolulu City Councilman Ernie Martin, who received just 4 percent.
The Civil Beat Poll surveyed 321 likely Democratic primary voters. The calls were a mix of landlines (71 percent), and cell phones (29 percent). The poll’s margin of error is 5.5 percent.
The CD1 seat is open because U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is running for Hawaii governor.
Diana Capili of Wahiawa is backing Kim.
“I like her spirit, and she seems like an honest person and seems to question things that other people don’t have the guts to,” said Capili. “I think we have wimps in Congress right now — sourpusses, to be exact.”
Capili is tired of the “same old, same old” choices.
“They badmouth the president and work more for the party than the people,” she said.
But Michelle Campos of Kapolei is backing Chin, the former attorney general, because of her concerns about President Donald Trump.
“He fought a lot of what Trump is trying to do, like the immigration stuff,” she said. “I don’t know how many times he has filed suit, but I was just proud to be from the same state.”
Donald Simpson of Honolulu likes Fukumoto, the former Republican who is running her first race as a Democrat.
“I think we need a fresh face,” he said. “I kind of like that she is younger, that she is the one who changed from Republican to Democrat. I kind of admire that she did.”
Simpson added, “My whole family is Republican, and my brother is a Trump man — oh, my goodness. Like I said, she’s got courage and I want to see what she can do, and hopefully she does well.”
Coming Thursday: Approval ratings for the current and former U.S. presidents, the governor, the Honolulu mayor and the Hawaii congressional delegation
The return of comments: Join Civil Beat political editor Chad Blair and reporter Nathan Eagle for a live discussion of poll results on Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. We’ll be accepting — and moderating — comments in a new live chat format you can find on our home page on Friday.
Read the complete Civil Beat Poll results below:
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