Battle for governor heats up in Hawaii

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Feb 24 2014 06:37:00 PM HST

The race for governor is heating up, and a new poll is raising eyebrows over who could take the lead.

HONOLULU -

The race for governor is heating up as a new poll about who could take the lead and why is getting a lot of attention.

Click here to watch Lara Yamada's report.

There's been little buzz since Democratic Sen. David Ige announced he'd be running for governor.

"I was surprised by the numbers," said Chad Blair, of the public affairs publication Civil Beat.

It was last July when Ige, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, announced he'll challenge Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie in this year's gubernatorial election.

A Civil Beat poll of about 1,000 people put the men at a dead heat.

"This is the first time we have them head to head," Blair said.

With a 3.9 percent margin of error, Ige and Abercrombie are tied at 37 percent apiece among likely Democratic primary voters.

"It's that 46 percent negative view of Abercrombie that's a big red flag," Blair said. "Remember that over a fourth are undecided. That's 26 percent. And really, what pollsters are telling us is it's really on discontent with Neal Abercrombie rather than support for David Ige."

"Ige's problem is that he still remains someone who is not well defined yet and he doesn't necessarily have the resources that are going to make it possible to define himself," said political analyst Neal Milner.

Abercrombie is not only crushing Ige in name recognition but in raising money, out-fundraising him some 10 to 1, Miler said.

Civil Beat's poll shows 56 percent of voters say they're not sure what they think of Ige. Milner and Blair both said that with the legislative session in full swing, finding the time to change that will be daunting.

"I think it's a big challenge. David Ige is the chair of the Ways and Means Committee in the Senate. He's going to be very busy until the first week of May," said Blair.

"Ige has to figure out how to tell a compelling story about himself so people recognize him. That's what he has to do," Miler said. "It's what he's had to do all along."

On Tuesday KITV will take a look at latest poll results in the United States' Senate race, as incumbent Brian Schatz looks to hold his seat against challenger Colleen Hanabusa.

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