Let’s take a moment this weekend and look back, essentially six months after Civil Beat opened its doors.
This was my first election season in Hawaii and I have a few observations about how things played out from my seat at Civil Beat. On the night of the election, the middle of the night more like it, we shared a number of other observations that you might find interesting.
But for now, I’d like to focus on the governor’s race and the role Civil Beat played in it.
The conventional wisdom might have been correct — that the Democratic primary between Neil Abercrombie and Mufi Hannemann was the heavyweight fight, and the general election was a foregone conclusion. But our polling indicated otherwise.
There are no polite words to describe the drubbing Abercrombie gave Hannemann, or perhaps more accurately, what Abercrombie allowed Hannemann to do to himself in the primary.
But after he crushed Hannemann, it seemed like Abercrombie’s team felt it had the governor’s office sewn up. The candidate disappeared. His website didn’t change for days….maybe a week. It was dead. Maybe they just needed to regroup or maybe his polls showed what the Honolulu Star-Advertiser had found when it commissioned polls on the possible post-primary matchup between Abercrombie and Aiona. What the newspaper polls showed was a 12 or 14 percent lead for Abercrombie.
Aiona took advantage of the lull. He went on the offensive right after the primary. Challenging his opponent to debates. Holding what seemed like a press conference a day. His team seemed young, friendly and energetic.
Then came the first Civil Beat poll after the primary, showing just three points separating the candidates and…
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