The incumbent representative, a Democrat, is ahead of her rival by 11 percentage points
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 29, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 12:15 p.m. HST, Oct 30, 2012
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, drawing energetic support from women and union households, has the advantage over former Congressman Charles Djou in their rematch in urban Honolulu's 1st Congressional District.
A new Hawaii Poll shows Hanabusa ahead of Djou 52 percent to 41 percent, with 7 percent undecided. The results are similar to the last Hawaii Poll, in July, when Hanabusa led Djou 50 percent to 41 percent.
Hanabusa, a Democrat, and Djou, a Republican, are competing against each other for the third time since 2010. But the rematch has been overshadowed by the Hawaii U.S. Senate and Honolulu mayoral campaigns and has not attracted the same national interest as the two previous elections.
Neal Milner, a retired University of Hawaii-Manoa political science professor, said the poll shows the challenge for Republican candidates like Djou in a traditionally Democratic state. Djou won a special election in May 2010 after Hanabusa and former U.S. Rep. Ed Case split the Democratic vote. He lost to Hanabusa by 6 points in the November 2010 election.
"It's extraordinarily difficult to break through that," Milner said, "and it looks like he hasn't been very successful at doing that."
The Hawaii Poll was taken by Ward Research for the Star-Advertiser and Hawaii News Now from Oct. 15 through 22. The interviews were conducted through telephone land lines and cellphones among 376 likely voters. The margin of error was 5.1 percentage points.
Hanabusa, the first woman to serve as state Senate president, has a sizable 54 percent-to-37 percent gap over Djou among women. She leads 60 percent to 35 percent in union households.
Voters also have a more favorable opinion of Hanabusa — 61 percent, than Djou — 56 percent. But the poll found that Djou's favorability rating has increased significantly since July, when it was 48 percent.
Djou, who is campaigning as a centrist, has some appeal among Democrats and dominates among independents. Voters who say they usually vote Democratic favor Hanabusa over Djou 72 percent to 21 percent. Republicans support Djou over Hanabusa 96 percent to 2 percent.
"I think these numbers reflect the tremendous amount of work our volunteers have put into our campaign, and the fact that voters are responding to our message of standing up for seniors, protecting the middle class, and continuing the progress we have seen in our economy," Hanabusa said in a statement. "Hawaii's core values haven't changed, and we've been speaking to those things that make our community special. That's what people are supporting.
"Having said that, I know that every poll is just a snapshot in time and the real numbers are the ones we get on Nov. 6. We're gong to campaign just as hard in the remaining days, and we're also going to be reminding our supporters that the job isn't done just because we got good poll numbers. They have to get out and vote."
Djou said his internal polling has told a different story from the Hawaii Poll. But he said polling does not matter as much as what his campaign would do to get out the vote in the week before the election.
"I've been up in polls and lost, and I've been down in polls and won," he said. "And the single most important poll is the one on election day, and that's the one that counts."
In the 2nd Congressional District, which covers rural Oahu and the neighbor islands, former Honolulu City Councilwoman Tulsi Gabbard leads homeless handyman Kawika Crowley 73 percent to 8 percent.
Gabbard, who crushed former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in the Democratic primary in August, has a 65 percent favorability rating, higher than any other politician tested in the poll. Gabbard had a 46 percent favorability rating in July, but 15 percent of voters had never heard of her and 21 percent had heard of her but did not know enough to form an opinion.