With less than two months to go before the first votes will be cast, Brian Schatz leads Colleen Hanabusa by 5 percentage points in the Democratic primary for Senate, a new Civil Beat Poll shows.
Schatz, the incumbent, has the support of 44 percent of Hawaii voters who say they will pull the Democratic ballot in the Aug. 9 primary. Hanabusa, a U.S. representative, polled 39 percent, with 16 percent saying they were undecided.
This is the fourth time Civil Beat has polled the Schatz-Hanabusa race over the past year, but it is the first time that one candidate appears to be gaining ground. Our previous polls showed the race essentially tied, with a lot of voters undecided.
“There has been a movement toward Schatz,” said Matt Fitch, executive director of Merriman River Group, which conducted The Civil Beat Poll. “Outside of Hawaii, there has been a pronounced coalescing around his candidacy. Inside Hawaii, there has been some gradual movement toward him.”
“He certainly is the favorite now,” Fitch added. “We are showing a closer, though widening race at this time than some other very good national pollsters. We respect what they do, but we perhaps have a different model about the ethnic composition of the likely voters in August.”
A poll conducted May 9-11 by Public Policy Polling on behalf of Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee that has endorsed Schatz, had the senator up 49 percent to 34 percent.