The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee came out Thursday with a new poll by the Mellman Group that has U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono up over former Gov. Linda Lingle 52 percent to 33 percent in a potential November general election for U.S. Senate.
The poll was conducted by telephone among 800 likely voters from July 18 to July 22. The margin of error was 3.8 percentage points. The Mellman Group is a Washington, D.C., based firm that has done research for many Senate Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.
The results are similar to a new Hawaii Poll released on Thursday that had both Hirono and former congressman Ed Case with double-digit leads over the Republican Lingle.
The Lingle campaign, trying to inoculate against a bit of unwelcome news, put out a personal message from Lingle on Wednesday night that gave her supporters “advance notice” that she would likely be trailing in the Hawaii Poll.
The Star-Advertiser had provided the Lingle, Hirono and Case campaigns with complete poll results — the same data that was presented to Star-Advertiser reporters — with the explicit agreement that the information was not to be released until Thursday. The newspaper routinely shares such data with candidates in advance so they can offer informed responses that are included in stories about polls.
Lingle told her supporters on Wednesday night that the Hawaii Poll results are not consistent with recent polls from “reputable, independent sources across the country,” which have her with a slight lead over Hirono.
But the previous two polls released on the Senate campaign, like the DSCC survey out on Thursday, came from sources with obvious rooting interest in the outcome: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed Lingle and has spent $750,000 on television advertisements on her behalf; and Voter/Consumer Research, Lingle’s pollster.
From Lingle, a former journalist:
Aloha friends and supporters,
I am writing you personally to give you advance notice of a poll that will be released tomorrow by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. The poll results they will announce simply are not consistent with recent polling conducted by reputable, independent sources across the country and don’t match up with past, real-life election demographics.
Tomorrow morning’s newspaper will likely feature a headline that says I am trailing in the race for Hawaii’s open U.S. Senate seat. However, over the past 10 months of this campaign, I have continued to steadily climb in the variety of polls conducted statewide. Most recently, in two unrelated polls conducted earlier this month with likely voters in the state, I was shown as leading the race by five and six points respectively.
It is clear that the Star-Advertiser figures are far from reality. I have visited with all of you statewide, in your homes and your businesses, and it is your unwavering support that drives my efforts. Despite tomorrow’s headline, I continue to remain confident that we have a clear path to victory in this election. Our polling results – which have been validated by independent, national polls – are a more accurate reflection of the sentiment we are experiencing on the ground.
Stay tuned for more details tomorrow morning from General Bob Lee, my campaign manager. He and our nationally-recognized pollster are pouring over the complete poll results now and will give you a detailed review in the morning.
Mahalo nui loa for your continued support. It is your enduring confidence that will lead us to victory!
P.S. Please pass this on to your ohana, friends and neighbors. These sensational headlines and the skewed data behind them will not distract us on our path to victory in 103 days.