If “Not Sure” were on the ballot for the 2022 Democratic primary race for lieutenant governor, Not Sure would win in a landslide.

That’s not a real person, of course, but nearly half of all likely Democratic primary voters — 48% — say they don’t know who they will vote for come Aug. 13.

According to a new Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now poll, state Rep. Sylvia Luke is now ahead of the pack at 20%. But it’s hardly a solid lead.

Former Honolulu City Council Chair Ikaika Anderson is not far behind at 14%. Keith Amemiya, a business executive, polls at 10% while Sherry Menor-McNamara, head of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, is at 7%.

There are also two other Democrats running to be LG — Daniel Cunningham and Sam Puletasi, who were not polled — likely further splintering the vote.

“Whichever candidates run the strongest campaigns from here on out have the best shot to bring undecided voters over to them,” said Seth Rosenthal, a survey consultant with MRG Research, which conducted the poll. “But it is still an open race at this point.”

Three Republicans are competing in that party’s primary. There is also a nonpartisan candidate in the running.

The Civil Beat/HNN poll, taken June 28-30, surveyed 1,120 registered voters. The poll’s margin of error is 3 percentage points.

Of those who responded to the survey, 782 identified as likely Democratic primary voters. The margin of error for that pool is 4 percentage points.

Luke does best among Japanese American voters, Anderson among Filipino and Hawaiian and Pacific islanders.

Luke does best on Oahu while Anderson is stronger in the neighbor islands.

‘All Politicians Corrupt’

Ken Harmeyer, 65, a retired professional truck driver and teacher living in Moanalua on Oahu, finds Amemiya to be a straightforward person.

“He seems like somebody that would actually try to do something, and not move from political job to political job just to try to get more political power and influence,” he said.

Harmeyer also likes Amemiya for his focus on the LG job, unlike other candidates who are “hanging onto their other jobs.”

“I didn’t like the other three top runners,” he said. “But if there were other choices — or if the Green Party were running — I would probably pick them.”

A Kihei, Maui, resident who works for the state, Joseph McDonald, 55, also slightly favors Amemiya, but is generally dismayed with widespread political corruption.

“All politicians are corrupt in some way, shape, or form,” he said. “I’m disheartened by all of them.”

But Kathleen Kaiser, 69, operational manager at Unity Church of Hawaii, trusts Luke based on her past performance.

“What I’m really basing my support on is her consistency and integrity in her decisions,” she said.

Ryan Nowinski, 47, from Makiki on Oahu, however, favors Menor-McNamara for what she has done to help small businesses in Hawaii as head of the Chamber of Commerce.

“Small businesses need a little bit of a better voice, especially locally owned ones,” said Nowinski, who works for a friend who is a Hawaii business-owner.

“She seems really available and open to new ideas,” he said.

A retiree from Waialua, Oahu, named Kevin Kelly, 63, is not fully happy with any candidate, but prefers Anderson.

“I think Ikaika has less baggage than some of the other leading candidates,” he said.

“I think he’s been pretty straightforward on what he’s been trying to do,” he said. “They all get into trouble misstating things and getting the bad press, but that’s okay. I still think he’s probably the more forthright one wanting to do some good, as opposed to just further their career.

“I like that he’s a local boy, of course,” Kelly said, who runs a nonprofit called North Shore EVP in the agricultural sector.

Touch-Tone Polling

Civil Beat conducted its poll with MRG Research using a combination of interactive voice response technology (touch-tone polling) and a survey administered online.

Both the touch-tone and online version of the poll were conducted using random, probability-based samplings of registered voters in Hawaii.

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.

Coming Friday: Results for Democrats in the race of Hawaii’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts.

Read other recent Civil Beat/HNN poll stories here.

Read the full results of Civil Beat/Hawaii News Now poll on the Democratic lieutenant governor’s race here:

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