By Derrick DePledge
Sabato's Crystal Ball has moved the Hawaii governor's race to a `toss up' from `leans Democratic.'
The political prognosticators at the University of Virginia Center for Politics cited Gov. Neil Abercrombie's unpopularity as the reason to put traditionally Democratic Hawaii into play. Abercrombie and state Sen. David Ige are competing in the Democratic primary. Former Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, a Republican, and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, an independent, will take on the primary winner in the November general election.
From Sabato's Crystal Ball:
Hawaii: Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) is so personally unpopular that he will be lucky to survive the Democratic primary against state Sen. David Ige. In fact, Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling recently found Ige leading Abercrombie 49%-39%, though any survey in the notoriously-difficult-to-poll Aloha State must be treated with caution. That said, we’re hearing that the public polls in Hawaii might not be far off the mark, and that Abercrombie is in real trouble heading into the Saturday, Aug. 9 primary. Even if Abercrombie wins renomination, he may well falter in the general election matchup against his 2010 general election opponent, former Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R). Moreover, the independent candidacy of former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann, an ex-Democrat, will further complicate things. This race shifts from Leans Democratic to Toss-up, and the primary is a Toss-up, too. We still favor Sen. Brian Schatz (D) in his primary against Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D): Abercrombie’s appointment of Schatz to deceased former Sen. Daniel Inouye’s (D) Senate seat, against the deathbed wishes of the Hawaii legend, is contributing to Abercrombie’s troubles with his own party, but perhaps isn’t hurting Schatz in the same way. (What was Schatz supposed to do — turn down the appointment?) Schatz also lacks Abercrombie’s grating style. Both primaries will be very much worth watching.