Joe Biden is easily expected to defeat Donald Trump to win Hawaii’s four electoral votes, according to a new poll. The same people surveyed say they are also quite content to make that vote by mail.

Those are the two big takeaways from the final Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now poll this week.

Biden, the former Democratic vice president, is favored by a 2-to-1 margin — that is, 61% to 28% — over Trump, the Republican president. A mere 7% are unsure who they’d prefer in the White House beginning Jan. 20, while 4% favor neither candidate.

Voters statewide also don’t care much for Trump, with 63% expressing negative feelings compared to 30% positive. Their opinion of Biden is pretty much the reverse.

23 feb 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat
A new poll says former Vice President Joe Biden is the strong favorite for president in 2020 among Hawaii voters. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

“No one would really dispute that Biden will win easily in Hawaii, it’s just a question about how much,” said Matthew Fitch, managing partner of MRG Research, which conducted the Civil Beat Poll with media partner HNN.

The forecast for the Nov. 3 presidential race is on par with the results of 2016, when Democrat Hillary Clinton swamped Trump 61% to 29%. Three third-party candidates picked up the remainder of the votes cast.

What’s different from four years ago is that this time around Hawaii has all mail-in voting, one of five states nationwide to adopt such a system.

Hawaii voters say they are satisfied with mailing in their ballots 71% to 19%. But the more conservative a voter is, or those who identify as Republican, say they are far less satisfied than liberal, progressive and Democrat voters.

That mirrors national polls and underscores Trump’s vehement opposition to voting by mail, which he claims is vulnerable to fraud — even though actual evidence indicates that that is not the case at all, and even though the president himself votes by mail.

“Hawaii picked the right year to move to vote by mail, didn’t they?” said Fitch, referring not only to Trump’s lament but also the fact that more states are moving toward voting by mail, especially in light of COVID-19 and social-distancing concerns.

‘Lesser Of 2 Evils’

U‘i Kahue-Cabanting, a cultural practitioner from Molokai who works in the agriculture industry, is voting for Biden — but not because she likes him.

“The primary reason is Kamala Harris,” she said, referring to Biden’s running mate. “I apologize, but I do not care for either candidate, so it’s the lesser of the two evils. I will never vote for Trump.”

Kahue-Cabanting, who is active in her community and in the sovereignty movement, said of her support for Harris, “She is a person of color, she is a female. I believe women in general handle world issues more sanely and more humanely than men do.”

Kahue-Cabanting added that her husband, a retired Marine, “is Trump all the way. We agree to disagree before we get into an argument.”

Jay Kiser, retired from the Army and living in Kailua, does not care for Biden at all, however.

“He’s a nice guy — he’s like your grandpa,” said Kiser. “But I don’t think he is mentally competent to handle the task at hand. And he’s too controlled by others, by the left wing. You can’t say that about Trump. He makes his decisions right or wrong, but you know where he’s coming from. I find that refreshing.”

Kiser cited cutting taxes and regulations, building a border wall and U.S. Supreme Court nominees among the president’s “many accomplishments.”

“I like what’s he’s done but not how he says it,” he explained. “He’s rough, he’s a New Yorker, so he’s not a politician. He’s not as polished as these other people.”

Kiser has voted absentee for years — it’s the same as voting by mail except that it is specifically requested by the voter — but he said he is unsure of the automatic mail-in ballot system primarily because it requires a signature.

“I think the best way to vote is in person with a valid government ID,” said Kiser. “But I understand the COVID situation.”

Kahue-Cabanting said she recognized the challenges COVID-19 brings to voting but also campaigning. A former candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, she said the early mailing of ballots may have had a negative impact on some candidates who were unprepared.

“What can a public servant do when they can’t meet the people?” she wondered. “But it is a learning process.”

The poll, taken Oct. 2-7, surveyed 988 statewide voters. The poll’s margin of error is 3.1 percentage points. Civil Beat conducted its poll — a representative sample of registered voters in Hawaii — with MRG Research using a combination of interactive voice response technology (touch-tone polling) and a survey administered online.

The touch-tone version was conducted by contacting landline telephones. The online version was conducted by texting cellphones and linking poll participants to an online survey optimized for smartphones.

Read the full results of the Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now poll on Trump vs. Biden and voting by mail here:

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