Less than two months before the Aug. 9 primary for Hawaii governor, state Sen. David Ige leads Gov. Neil Abercrombie by 11 percentage points among likely Democratic voters.
Ige has 48 percent of the vote compared with 37 percent for Abercrombie. Fifteen percent of those surveyed say they are undecided.
The poll numbers are the culmination of a dramatic turn of events for the incumbent governor who has raised millions for his re-election campaign and is advertising heavily. Ige, the Senate Ways and Means chair little known outside his Pearl City-Aiea district, has raised little money and is not running TV ads so far.
Ige’s double-digit lead caught us by surprise, too. We first polled the race May 18-19 and found a similar double-digit lead. We decided to take a step back and conduct a second poll, much as we did in 2012 when our polling found Tulsi Gabbard pulling even with Mufi Hannemann in the race for the 2nd Congressional District.
Gabbard, a Honolulu City Councilwoman, overcame a 45-point deficit in a matter of months to pull into a dead heat with the former Honolulu mayor. By August, Gabbard had opened up a 49 percent to 29 percent lead. And on primary day, Aug. 11, she defeated the far more experienced Hannemann 54 percent to 33.6 percent.
So, while we went ahead and published other poll results late last month in the U.S. Senate race and the 1st Congressional District race, we went into the field again on the governor’s race. We wanted to know more about why Ige was outpolling Abercrombie.