HI-01: Narrow Djou Lead, But Could Be Anyone’s Race

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (4/11-14, likely voters, no trendlines):

Charles Djou (R): 32

Ed Case (D): 29

Colleen Hanabusa (D): 28

Other: 4

Undecided: 7

(MoE: ±5%)

Thanks to Hawaii’s weird special election configuration where all parties are piled into one pool together, Republican Charles Djou seems to be in position to win by virtue of getting a small plurality in a three-way race rather than the usual majority. R2K’s poll closely tracks the leaked DCCC poll of the race (where it was 32 Djou, 32 Case, 27 Hanabusa), although it appears that the difficulties of polling in Hawaii hamstrung R2K, who say they had trouble getting a representative sample and had to settle for a higher margin of error than usual.

The race in HI-01 is starting to remind me of one of those Quentin Tarantino prisoner’s-dilemma standoffs where you have three guys standing in a triangle, all pointing guns at each other’s heads. In a perfect world, one Dem would back down, because the national party can’t afford the symbolism of a loss here (even though it’s a seat that they’d be likely to recover in November in a normal head-to-head race — simply because the media would be incapable of explaining the nuances of the loss beyond “OMG! Dems in disarray lose Barack Obama’s home district!”).

But neither Case nor Hanabusa is likely to get out of the special, because doing so would give the other the benefit of incumbency going into the regularly-scheduled September primary, when presumably they would want to face off against each other. Hanabusa, probably because of her role in the state legislature, has lower approvals than Case (37/31, vs. Case’s 47/25, which may explain why the DCCC wants her to be the one who walks the plank), but with her backing by the state’s unions and political machine, she probably feels she has little reason to get out… and maybe with her backers’ GOTV operations, she still has a good shot in a low-turnout affair.

UPDATE: Nice catch from Reid Wilson, illuminating what Markos was alluding to his in his own writeup: the sample’s racial composition is way off, as the sample is 33% white and 38% Asian, despite the district actually being 53% Asian and 19% white.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Fundraising numbers from all three are available now. Despite Case’s moneybags reputation, he’s being outpaced by both Djou and Hanabusa. Djou has the most cash on hand ($492K, compared with $329K for Hanabusa and $214K for Case), while Hanabusa has raised the most over the course of the cycle, but also spent the most (she’s raised $712K, compared with $692K for Djou and $349K for Case).

38 thoughts on “HI-01: Narrow Djou Lead, But Could Be Anyone’s Race”

  1. I don’t think the DCCC should get involved in this primary without clear evidence that Hannabusa couldn’t win, which is lacking here. But I sure don’t imagine Case or the DCCC backing down.  

  2. It does seem that Research 2000 statistically adjusted their data to account for their inability to poll an appropriate racial balance.  Without that statistical readjustment, Djou would win in a landslide, receiving 47% of the white vote.  He’s also competitive among the asian voters; it could well be that Hanabusa actually helps keep the race competitive.

  3. than to have Case win and be in there for a long time.  We don’t need another DINO in congress.

  4. This poll has 39%D, 30%R, and 31%I.  Is this breakdown realistic?  I know that the Republicans are energized, but I’m surprised that there is only a 9% difference between the Dems and the GOP.

  5. Mainland pollsters are notorious for not knowing how to poll Hawaii, as the weird oversampling of whites and undersampling of Asians suggests. Still, it probably does come down to turnout. If we assume that most whites go for Djou and the rest go for Case, that really means the Asian majority has to a.) show up, and b.) pretty much all vote for Hanabusa. If enough Asians defect to Case or Djou, that candidate wins. If Asians stay united for Hanabusa, it could still be Hanabusa by a nose.

    Either way, two Dems and one Repub makes SSP go crazy.

    Two Dems and one Repub makes SSP go crazy.

    Two Dems and one Repub makes SSP go crazy.

    Two Dems and one Repub makes SSP go crazy.


  6. if this bit from the CQ link is true

    First of all, many survey participants – particularly Japanese-Americans – will say they are undecided when they are questioned about their voting preferences.

    “And that’s not true,” said Dan Boylan, a political science professor at the University of Hawaii. “They just won’t tell a person with a disembodied voice on the phone how they’re voting.”

    Japanese-American women, especially, tend to be underrepresented in polling because they decline to answer – a circumstance that Boylan argued could give Hanabusa an edge in the race.

    “Let’s say there is 15 to 20 [percent] undecided, I would cut that in half in favor of Hanabusa,” Boylan said.

  7. …in this eleciton, which I hope benefits the Democrats, but we really have no idea.

    I checked the Hawaii State Office of Elections fact sheet for this election, and it’s clear all registered voters will automatically receive mail-in ballots.  Even further, in-person early voting will be available May 10-20 in Honolulu, albeit at only one location.

    If everyone is getting an unsolicited ballot, and presuming voters are not required to provide postage (i.e., postage paid by addressee) in mailing back their completed ballots, this means probably a lot more people will vote in this special than would show up to vote in a “normal” special election with in-person voting on election day the dominant form of voting.

  8. The primary is all the way in September, and arent these late primary states forced by federal law to move their dates up?  And if so, why hasnt Hawaii complied yet?

    There is plenty of time for the primary and I really do think Hannabusa can win A LOT of goodwill by getting out, endorsing Case while at the same time saying, ‘but Im running against you in the primary.  We just simply can’t lose this seat.’  And I bet she could get the DCCC to not get involved in the primary if she gets out of the special, they’d owe her that because she’d save them a ton of money by having to spend heavily on this race and not having to defend Case later in the primary anyway if he wins against Hannabusa.

    Plus, Hannabusa will still have the endorsement of EVERY institution in Hawaii for the primary Im sure.  Anyone know Hawaii, can she pull it out easily enough in a primary?  Am I being plausible?  (I can certainly see the DCCC making that deal, saves them a ton of money and no chance of losing the seat.)  I, like many here, am just absolutely not okay with the return of Case and him being a Senator.  No no no, Hawaii can do just entirely better.

    Just another case of states needing election reform, because this is crap.

  9. It’s a month and a week until ballots have to be mailed (I think). So there’s time for this to play out.

  10. All people know the rules of the election. All people know what must do for democrats have not troubles in this race. I think the rules of the election are not the problem now. This is not a problem of rules I think this is a problem of persons what evaluate not right the risk of play wrong.

    I think the second of the democrats in the polls must leave his/her risky bid before the election. And in all the polls C Hanabusa is the second democrat after E Case. Is not right continues a bid with this risk.

    The results of R2000 poll are the worst results possible for C Hanabusa, making her responsible if democrats lose the race. I think if C Hanabusa continues now and these are the results of the election, she can burn her political career.

    This poll means this fight is very dangerous for Hanabusa, for Case and for all the democrats. Without the support of Case voters Hanabusa never will win no-one high level race. Without the support of Hanabusa voters, Case never will win no-one high level race. This fight must stop before dammage democratic candidates and put in risk the seat. All candidates know what must do for that. I wish bold again:

    The problem are not the rules. All people know the rules and what must do before the election.

    This race is Safe Democratic (if all play right).

  11. I think I’ve now seen 3 different polls for this race, and all 3 show Case ahead of Hanabusa.  And this new R2K poll even further shows Hanabusa barely ahead of Case among Democrats, 46-44.  That surprises me a little as I would have guessed bad feelings toward Case for his primary challenge of Akaka (although with a 54-45 margin, Case obviously had a lot of real Democratic support), and I’d think the Inoye/Akaka/labor combo would drive Democrats more strongly toward Hanabusa.  But it is what it is.

    We’re better off with Case winning now and just holding the damn thing, than both Democrats losing it, having the media and Republicans trample all over us for it, and then hope for a very iffy prospect of Hanabusa winning the September primary.

  12. If Hanabusa supporters start to think: “now, better Djou than Hanabusa”, Case supporters can start to think: “in November, better Djou than Hanabusa”.

    I think this is not the right way.

  13. So this seems to overrepresent Republicans and underrepresent Independents, but pegs Democrats about right.

  14. That’s a big decrease among the Independents, even if this is a special election instead of an election of their native-born son.  If 30% of the voters are actually Republican, I’m fairly pessimistic about our chances.  I’m hoping that it will be more like 25% of the voters are Republican.  I think that may be more realistic.

  15. the numbers I gave were for 2006, the last midterm.  2008 numbers were 45D-20R-34I, but I don’t consider that a valid comparison because it was a presidential year.

  16. Sorry, my eyes read what my brain wanted to read.  If that is the case, I’m feeling better about our chances.  The only major issue we have is that this is a special election, and the Republicans are revved up at the same time the Dems have 2 candidates.

    Maybe a 40D/25R/35I breakdown will occur.  If something like that happened, I’d feel okay about our chances.

  17. is there a specific reason they would vote for her and her alone? after all Djou is Asian too. even if the Asian vote breaks down by ethnic boundaries, I would assume (knowing nothing about Hawaii admittedly) that there are more Chinese than Japanese in Hawaii just because that’s how it is in the rest of the country, and Japan isn’t that much closer to Hawaii than China is.

  18. If this race really does break down by ethnic lines that’s good, especially given the tidbit about Japanese women being undersampled in polls mentioned below.

  19. there’s no way in hell Hanabusa would stand a chance against him in a primary after endorsing him. It’s the exact same reason why we can’t recruit Phil Gordon to run for AZ-Sen.

  20. The ballots are being mailed April 30. That means thay have about 2 weeks to solidify most voters, and about 3 weeks to get the few voters who wait to mail the ballots.  

  21. HI-01 1986, the same distric, the same crazy history again?

    In 1986 Cecil Heftel resign to his house district before end the term because he was running for governor. (Later he lost the democratic primary against John Waihe’e, then Lieutenant Governor, what becomes governor.

    For complet the remain time of the term the district has a special election the same day of the primaries.

    N Abercrombie, white candidate, win the special election, but the same day lost the democratic primary against M Hanneman.

    As result of that, M Hanneman lost the election in November against the republican candidate, P Saiki, japanese-american.

    In 1990 N Abercrombie run again for the seat and win the seat when Saiki run for senate.

    September 20, 1986 special election results:

    29,88% N Abercrombie (D)

    29,20% P Saiki (R)

    28,30% M Hannemann (D)

    September 20, 1986 democratic primary:

    40,22% M Hannemann (D)

    39,21% N Abercrombie (D)

    November 4, 1986 election

    59,20% P Seiki (R)

    37,45% M Hannemann (D)

    We can not repeat this same crazy history.

  22. Although she can say a whole lot of things good things to get him to win without really supporting the guy.  So nix the endorsement, let’s do it for party unity!  And then not be as public after the fact because yeah, she can only do so much before it’s like, well then why the hell are you running against him?

  23. In a special election extremely tough poll.  Case should be equally as pressured to drop-out as Hannabusa based off of numbers.  Which she is spanking him in fundraising as well.

  24. Mason-Dixon 1/8-12/10

    Case 37%

    Hanabusa 25%

    Djou 17%

    DCCC 4/?/10

    Djou 32%

    Case 32%

    Hanabusa 27%

    R2000 4/11-14/10

    Djou 32%

    Case 29%

    Hanabusa 28%

    All these polls gives to Hanabusa the second place in democratic side, including the polls of the more friendly pollsters. Is not time of fight more between democrats, the second democrat must assume he/she is back and must leaves the race. The time for work and win support end. We can not ignore 1986 results.

    Sure Im more progressive and leftist than Hanabusa. I born in Western-Europe and I come from european left, from full social security, from european social welfare state, created by european left and european taxes. I would be happy if the more leftist candidate win this race with high advantage, but I see not that. I see high disadvantages for democrats if that continues and the second democrat leaves not the race.

    With R2000 poll results all rating will call “Toss-Up” HI-01 race.

  25. one point difference. and this was with a high MoE. R2K had trouble polling this. If it’s true that Japanese women were undersampled, it is probably Hanabusa who is ahead of Case.

  26. About the problems of R2K I think this is to forze the numbers. They give his numbers and show Case leading after (if im not wrong) include some corrections for the case of japanese-american womens. I can understand the analisis and the argument but being japanese-amercan womens less than 10% of the voters in the district, the difference can not be very high.

    All we know R2K is the more friendly pollster for Hanabusa, and Dailykos and SSP are virtually endorsing Hanabusa, and still I can not see numbers what show Hanabusa leading Case.

    When I find and see the 1986 numbers for this same district I get so afraid. Please, give us your analisis about HI-01 results. I give you the numbers. Then Hannemann lose against Abercrombie in the special election, but defeat him in the democratic primary by very low margin in both elections. Why lose badly M Hannemann in November of 1986 against Patricia Saiki (R)? Why up high P Saiki (R) in November?

    I know my point is not popular here, but I feel I must tell what I see from a leftist point and not as a Case supporter.

  27. that R2K’s Democratic house effect is benefiting Hanabusa over Case.

    And for all we know Hanabusa is leading Case. She was behind him by one point in a poll with a MoE of five points. For all we know she is beating him by four. And the picture becomes even murkier when you consider that this a special in a state that might be hard to poll. I don’t think you are giving enough consideration to that.

  28. correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the vote-by-mail thing is new here, making this race even harder to poll.

  29. a special like this is really hard, and leading someone by such a narrow margin doesn’t really tell much. I really don’t like the idea of electing a Joe Lieberman style condem in such a progressive seat (nothing against blue dogs, but ones in really liberal areas make me sick). This could easily be a stepping stone to the Senate for Case, and that would be bad on a catastrophic scale. I’m really rooting for a Democratic win, however I would much rather it be Hanabusa, because it’s really hard to decide whether a Djou win or a Case win would be worse in the long term.    

  30. I can not ignore the results of 1986 in the same district with the same fight in a special election. As result, republicans hold the seat between 1987 and 1991, when P Saiki run for the senate.

    I can not ignore they are two polls more what show Hanabusa back.

    I mean not the numbers of R2K benefit Hanabusa, but I think the numbers of R2K quit not to Hanabusa because this is a friendly poll for Hanabusa. And still the numbers show Hanabusa 28% and Case 29%.

  31. I think the strongest candidates for replace D Akaka and D Inouye senators (in this order) would be:

    – Eric Shinseki (japanese-american like D Inouye)

    – John Wahee (native islander like D Akaka)

    – Mazie Hirono (japanese-american like De Inouye)

    I think Ed Case or Colleen Hanabusa are back, with Mufi Hannemann, and I think they will have much less option of go to the senate. And I suspect they can not defeat L Lingle if she run.

    D Akaka may retire before, but D Inouye can be until he death. I think D Akaka will not run for reelection in 2012, and maybe he retires before for leave not the chance of run for an open seat to L Lingle. 2011 can be a good year if N Abercrombie becomes governor. The winner of HI-01 would have not chance of run for senate in 2012.

    With the support of the DCCC I think Ed Case would be more an Arlen Specter than a Joseph Lieberman. I think C Hanabusa is better than E Case, but Hawaii voters have more doubts, and then, I think the second democrat must leave the race before the special election.

    I think we can not assume the risk of lose the seat.

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