Civil Beat Poll - Stunning Turnaround In Hawaii's CD2 Race

Courtesy Gabbard for Congress

So much for Mufi Hannemann's runaway victory.

City Council member Tulsi Gabbard has overcome an early 45-point deficit to pull into a dead heat with the former Honolulu mayor two months before the Democratic primary likely to determine Hawaii's new representative in Congress.

The Civil Beat Poll conducted two separate public opinion surveys of the race in the last two weeks, discovering and then confirming that likely voters in the 2nd Congressional District primary have fled from the polarizing Hannemann in the months since the last time their temperature was taken. The seat, vacant as Rep. Mazie Hirono has opted to run for U.S. Senate this year, is up for grabs, and Gabbard has the momentum.

The first of the two Civil Beat Polls, part of a larger poll of several races, surveyed 340 likely Democratic primary voters between June 5 and June 7 for a margin of error of +/- 5.3 percent.1 It found a 35-31 split in Gabbard's favor over Hannemann; a gap within the margin of error means the race was a statistical tie at the time the phone calls were made. Big Island lawyer Bob Marx scored 11 percent and former Office of Hawaiian Affairs chief advocate Esther Kiaaina 10 percent, leaving 14 percent undecided.

Civil Beat conducted a second survey a week later for two reasons: to confirm the dramatic turnaround, and to find out why voters changed their minds. The second poll surveyed 685 different likely Democratic primary voters on June 13 and June 14 for a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent.2 This one found Hannemann at 34 percent and Gabbard at 33 percent — again a statistical tie. Marx and Kiaaina both sat at 10 percent, and 12 percent were undecided. Both polls asked voters who they'd vote for "today."

Taken together, the polls provide a snapshot in time that shows even support for the two leading candidates among a combined sample of 1,025 likely Democratic primary voters — well within the total margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

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