Poll: Hawaii Sen. Schatz trouncing Dem challenger

Greg Nash

A new survey conducted for a group backing Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) shows him opening up a 15-point lead over his primary challenger, Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

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The survey, conducted by Public Policy Polling for Democracy for America (DFA), gave Schatz 49 percent support among likely Democratic primary voters to Hanabusa’s 34 percent support. Seventeen percent of respondents said they were undecided.

DFA notes that this is the first survey conducted since President Obama endorsed Schatz for the seat in late March. A mid-February independent poll showed the two locked in a dead heat, while a survey conducted at the start of that month gave Hanabusa an eight-point lead.

Most polling of the race has shown a tight competition, with Schatz holding a slight lead. This is the first to give him such a substantial advantage over Hanabusa.

The poll also indicates 55 percent of respondents approve of the job Schatz is doing, while 22 percent disapprove of his performance, and about a quarter remain undecided.

Schatz was appointed to the Senate in late 2012, following the death of former Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii). Inouye had reportedly encouraged Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D) to appoint Hanabusa to his seat before his passing, but Abercrombie instead chose Schatz, formerly the state’s lieutenant governor, for the seat.

The poll was conducted May 9-11 among 606 likely Hawaii Democratic primary voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.