Update 11:00 a.m. | A Democratic poll released this morning found Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) well ahead of former Gov. Linda Lingle (R) in a test of Hawaii's likely general election Senate matchup.
Hirono led Lingle by 19 points in the poll, conducted by the Mellman Group on behalf of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. It was released today, the same day that Hirono and former Rep. Ed Case will meet for their final debate before the Aug. 11 Democratic primary and as Hirono highlights her ability to work across the aisle on behalf of Hawaii's interests.
Hirono received 52 percent in the DSCC poll to just 33 percent for Lingle. Fourteen percent were undecided. Hirono also had a higher favorable rating, as 55 percent viewed her favorably and 29 percent unfavorably. Lingle's rating was basically split, with 47 percent holding a favorable view of her and 44 percent having an unfavorable view.
Despite the expectation that Democrats will hold the seat of retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D), especially with President Barack Obama on the ticket, there has been a wide variety of poll results released in recent weeks. That includes one conducted for the Lingle campaign which showed her ahead of Hirono by 5 points, while Case led Lingle by 1 point. Hirono pushed back a day later with her own internal poll that showed her ahead of Lingle by 11 points.
Case has used the poll results favorable to him as evidence that he is better positioned to defeat Lingle in November. Hirono will now have fresh polling to push back with if it comes up in tonight's debate, which is the first to be shown on commercial television.
The Mellman Group surveyed 800 likely voters from July 18-22, and the poll had a 3.8-point margin of error.
Updated 11:00 a.m.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser released an independent poll today showing Hirono ahead of Case 55 percent to 37 percent, with 8 percent undecided. In a general election test, Hirono led Lingle 58 percent to 39 percent, and Case led Lingle 56 percent to 38 percent.
The primary poll was conducted July 12-21 among 606 "very likely voters" by Ward Research. It had a 4-point margin of error. The general election poll, conducted at the same time, included 756 "very likely voters" and had a 3.6-point margin of error.