Political Radar

`Toss up'

July 30th, 2014

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.

14 Responses to “`Toss up'”

  1. matt:

    EEEkk Hawaii's politics- terrible. voters- terrible. cost of living- terrible. need I say more?

  2. Guy:

    Both candidates released their "plans" this week. Abercrombie's was the only real plan. I was quite impressed by its accounting of the past several years and the amount of detail for the next four. Conversely, I was insulted Ige would offer up such a vague document as any sort of plan. It really is a clear choice.

  3. Tyrion Lannister:

    Anyone impressed by a new Abercrombie "plan" should pay more attention to what happened to his last "plan."

  4. Guy:

    Actually, I am. The Abercrombie plan gives a good accounting of accomplishments over the past 3.5 years before outlining specifics on the next four. You might want to actually read both and compare. The other guy apparently hopes to coast on vague generalities.

  5. innocent observer:

    Abercrombie's plan is a farce - he is trying to take credit for many things that occurred but he was not directly responsible for. another big deception. we want honesty, not a double talking politician. we want some one to work for the people, not special interests. his pre-K plan is also a farce. it would be better to take the money and provide grants for students higher education, rather than trying to teach kids whose brain is not fully developed, and won't be able to retain much.

  6. Kolea:

    I think it is premature to assess the chances for an Aiona victory against either potential Democratic nominee. Aiona has not really begun to campaign ad voters have not turned their attention towards him enough to offer a firm opinion on him. We all know the challenges a Republican faces in getting elected in Hawaii. His ads portray him as a nice, family man. But underneath that surface is the same religious fundamentalist wanting to subordinate civil government in Hawaii to a hard right understanding of "God's Will." Can he keep that under constraint? Can his followers? Cause there is a limited market for that voice.

    If Ige gets the nomination, the anti-Abercrombie sentiment will no longer be driving voters to consider either Aiona or Mufi. It becomes more of a simple question of which party's vision (and values) are more in alignment with the people of Hawaii: the Dems, the GOP or the HIPsters? The Dems have a strong advantage in that contest.

    But will they have enough money and organizational unity to deliver that message effectively? I expect the vast majority of Abercrombie supporters to support Ige if he wins the nomination.

    If Neil wins the primary, the anti-Abercrombie sentiment will seek another outlet. Some of the Democratic supporters of Ige will suppress their hostility to Neil. Some will turn to Aiona or Mufi. And some will just sit on their hands, perhaps voting for Neil in the General, but not helping. Can Neil pull it off under such conditions? His money will help. But he will also need help from Aiona reminding us why we did not warm up to him last time.

    After the primary, it will take awhile for the dust to settle, for feelings and thinking to adjust to the new options in front of the voters. There will be three months for voters to "process" the choices" and I don't think that thinking is anywhere near settled. Sabato needs to make predictions or his Crystal Ball will fall silent. But we don't have to give his predictions much attention. Not at this point.

  7. Chicken Grease:

    Sort of agree with Kolea.

    Will also add . . . it's simple: if Ige gets the nomination, Aiona will win in the General; at that point, voters will want to vote for someone familiar. General is where Ige will lose his "state workah" smugness.

  8. Kolea:


    I disagree Aiona is more "familiar" and comforting than David Ige. We DO know David Ige. He is Glenn Miyashiro. And Glenn Miyashiro, while not inspiring, IS comfortable and familiar.

    And I am more comfortable with David Ige's easy smile than with Duke Aiona's.

  9. Seawalker:

    I see it the other way. If ABC gets the democratic nod, Aiona will finally be governor. The anti-ABC votes will not go to Mufi, but to Duke. Might be a good thing anyway. We need some fresh blood in this state. If it ain't going to be Ige (who comes across with the freshest blood of them all), then Aiona and his republican merry-men will will. Thanks to Mufi, of course, who will help split the democratic vote.

  10. ohiaforest3400:

    Agree with Kolea on this one. I know people who, like Chicken Grease, er, Chicken Little, predict the sky will fall if Abercrombie loses because, in their fowl minds, that will guarantee an Aiona victory.

    Ain't happenin'.

    Democrats have too many vested interests not to rally around Ige if he wins. Regardless of who wins the Democrat primary, Mufi will split the social conservative vote with Aiona and the Democrat will win with at least a low 40's percentage. Being the phony and lightweight that he is, Aiona will come in third, not even getting out of the 20's.

    If there are any guarantees in the governor's race, Mufi's entry guarantees that a donkey will continue to reside behind Washington Place.

    Bank it.

  11. Chicken Grease:

    July 31st, 2014 at 11:20 am

    Ain't happenin'.

    'Swhat they said about Lingle. And she got two terms. Those that vote Dem' each election (hell, that's even a GREASE in some respects) "stayed home," right? BOTH elections. Right.

  12. itoboy:

    My favorite part about Sabato's Crystal Ball: "What was Schatz supposed to do — turn down the appointment?"

    If Hanabusa was appointed, she would be having a love fest with Abercrombie, and the old guard (Ariyoshi, et al.) would probably less inclined to help Ige (and perhaps Ige would have even stayed out of it or the old guard would not have gotten Ige to run against Abercrombie). As a loyal Dem born and raised in Hawaii, I think the old guard has held on to power for much too long, and it's time for a change in the party.

  13. innocent observer:

    itoboy - shatz asked to be appointed, so why would he turn down the appointment? nobody forced him to accept the appointment. by the way the so-called old guard did very well for Hawaii, why change? you don't change for no good reason, especially when the "new guard" is somewhat marginal.

  14. Chicken Grease:

    innocent observer:
    July 31st, 2014 at 2:33 pm
    itoboy - shatz asked to be appointed, so why would he turn down the appointment? nobody forced him to accept the appointment. by the way the so-called old guard did very well for Hawaii, why change? you don't change for no good reason, especially when the "new guard" is somewhat marginal.

    Duh, Schatz's appointment was down to a list of names; this was a party discussion, with the ultimate selection approved by the governor. Here, refresh your memory (or read this for the first time): http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/20428812/lt-gov-brian-schatz-selected-to-replace-sen-dan-inouye-fill-vacant-seat-in-us-senate

    This is the rub for HanaBuSa: she conjectures Schatz as one who "rubber stamps," but, she expected to be "rubber stamped" into Inouye's old seat. Talk about being disingenuous.

    well, one of the "old guard" has passed on and the other one retired. Better to have Hunter and Deedee McCall in there instead of just Cagney and Lacey, dig?

    So, change is bad if what I'm reading from an i.o.; yeah, that explains a lot of an i.o. Just keep putting in lawyers into the U.S. Senate.

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