Hawaii congressional seat poll split among 7 candidates

Published On: Feb 26 2014 06:10:41 PM HST   Updated On: Feb 26 2014 09:09:54 PM HST

Senators, city council members, a state representative -- and a human rights activist.

Click here to watch Lara Yamada's story.

The seven-person race for Hawaii's First Congressional District seat is fracturing the polls while showing some clear front-runners.

The candidates are State Sens. Donna Mercado Kim and Wil Espero, State Rep. Mark Takai, Council members Ikaika Anderson, Stanley Chang and Joey Manahan, and human rights activist Kathryn Xian.

"This race right now is definitely between Donna Mercado Kim and Mark Takai," said Civil Beat's Chad Blair.

Of 323 likely voters asked about their choice for the First Congressional District seat, Kim took 25 percent of the vote and Takai registered 20 percent.

Three others included in the poll each came up far behind.

"Thirty-six percent of likely Democratic voters in the primary haven't decided who they're going to vote for, so the race still is up for grabs," Blair said.

"It's a name-recognition poll," said political analyst Neal Milner, who adds that unlike other races where voters have made up their minds, political debates could be important for the candidates.

"It's not even just about the money. It's hard for these other candidates to figure out how you grab onto a portion of the votes," Milner said.

Milner and Blair both said congressional upsets are always possible.

Consider the race between Tulsi Gabbard and former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hanneman.

"You got the council, House of Representatives, and yet she creamed him, and now she's a superstar," Blair said.

"She was an extraordinarily successful campaigner whose talents were totally underestimated by the man who ran against her," Milner said.

Civil Beat is working on some other polls that are due out within the next few days on Hanneman's chances to be elected governor and how voters think Mayor Kirk Caldwell is doing.

Civil Beat will also be poling on opinions on a possible minimum wage increase and support for relaxed laws on marijuana.


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