Lingle Pollster: 'Very Close Race'

Chad Blair/Civil Beat

With less than three weeks to go before Election Day, Linda Lingle's U.S. Senate campaign has released a memo from its pollster saying the race against Mazie Hirono "is a very close race."

"In our nightly tracking the race is very close, we're down by 3 or 4 points," Jan R. van Lohuizen of Voter / Consumer Research said in the memo dated Wednesday. "This is a significant gain from our track in late September. The Hirono campaign is probably seeing the same trend, since they're now attacking on Medicare."

The numbers are sharply different than a Civil Beat Poll conducted in late September that show the Democrat Hirono with a 16 percentage point lead over the Republican. The Hirono campaign released internal numbers in early October that were very similar with the Civil Beat Poll.

The Lingle survey also bucks recent analysis by national political experts who say the Hawaii Senate race is strongly leaning Democrat.

But Lingle's team believes the dynamic has changed, perhaps in part because of televised debates between Hirono and Lingle.

"As we've been saying, our race is a statistical dead-heat," Lenny Klompus, Lingle's deputy campaign manager and communications director, said in a statement. "With 20 days to go, and early walk-in voting beginning Monday, Linda Lingle is perfectly positioned to win this race against Mazie Hirono — just as she's done before."

The Hirono camp has a far different take.

"What the Lingle campaign describes as a 'poll memo' is just an incomplete paragraph that raises more questions than it answers," Hirono campaign manager Betsy Lin said in a statement. "It's odd Linda Lingle is willing to publicly declare, 'Mitt Romney would be a better president for Hawaii' than President Obama — yet refuses to publicly back up her reputed 'poll results' with any actual proof."

Lin said the Hirono campaign's internal polling suggests she will emerge victorious Nov. 6, though Lin did not provide any new numbers.

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