By B.J. Reyes
Republican Gov. Linda Lingle is preparing for a six-state campaign tour on behalf of John McCain and Sarah Palin that will take her through Michigan, Ohio, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Missouri.
Trying to rally support for the GOP ticket in those states might prove easier than here at home, where an early poll shows Hawaii-born Democratic nominee Barack Obama holds a sizable lead.
The poll released today by Rasmussen Reports shows Obama, a 1979 Punahou graduate, leading McCain 68 percent to 27 percent.
Obama is viewed favorably by 74 percent of voters, while just 25 percent view him unfavorably, according to Rasmussen. McCain is viewed favorably by 36 percent, while 59 percent view him unfavorably.
On the running mates, 62 percent of voters in Hawaii have a favorable view of Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, while 37 percent say they have a favorable view of Palin, according to the report.
Chuck Freedman, executive director of the Democratic Party of Hawaii and one of the key organizers behind Obama’s Hawaii campaign, said the lead wasn’t too surprising given that the grassroots organizing for the Illinois senator has been in place for almost two years.
“He’s got a lot of strength out here and an increasing amount of strength in the country,” Freedman said. “We just work real hard to make sure we get a vote that’s this convincing and this compelling on Election Day.”
Rep. Kymberly Pine, co-chairwoman of McCain’s campaign in Hawaii, said she was actually encouraged by the poll numbers.
“I thought (Obama) had 90 percent support in Hawaii because of all the free media he has gotten, and all the money he’s collected from Hawaii,” said Pine (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point). “We’re very inspired, actually, by that number because it’s a lot higher for McCain than we had imagined.
“We know this is a blue state, but the people that are on the John McCain team believe in and love this man. So in the spirit of never surrender, never quit and always fight for what you believe in, our team is always excited every day.”
The telephone survey of 500 likely voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports on Sept. 20. The margin of sampling error is plus/minus 4.5 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
Click here for a sampling of various national polls.