A Case Of Dueling Numbers

Dan Boylan
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Wednesday - August 10, 2011
| Del.icio.us

Numbers. Everybody’s talking numbers.

Last week former Democratic Congressman Ed Case was talking about the numbers in a Merriam River Group statewide poll of registered voters. He was talking, of course, because they looked good for him. One year out from the Democratic Primary, Merriam’s poll showed Case beating 2nd District Congresswoman Mazie Hirono 53 percent to 37 percent for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Dan Akaka. The poll was conducted July 26-28.

Even more reason for Case to crow: Merriman’s numbers gave him 48 percent to Republican Linda Lingle’s 38 percent in the 2012 general election race. Add to that Merriman’s results in a Hirono-Lingle contest, Lingle’s 48 percent to Hirono’s 43 percent and Case, at least for a “snapshot in time,” has an argument that he’s the Democrats’ stronger candidate against the former two-term Republican governor.

Just a week earlier, Hirono’s supporters were doing the crowing about fundraising rather than poll numbers. Hirono, ensconced in Washington, D.C., where political action committee money arrives in bushel baskets at congressional fundraisers, reported collecting $281,000 from April to June 2011. That gave her $545,000 in cash in hand for her senatorial campaign. More than half-amillion a year before the election is a nice number.

Case’s fundraising numbers weren’t as good. He brought in $147,000 during the April-June period, leaving him with $206,400 cash in hand. That April-June number sounded worse because Case had estimated that his second quarter total harvest would be $240,000.

Political numbers always produce political sniping. A spokesman for the Hirono campaign accused Case of “misleading” the folks with his $240,000 figure. And a week later, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s executive director Guy Cecil accused Case of, well ... lying. Said Cecil: “I don’t believe Mr.

Case is being honest with this poll. It exaggerates support for him and for Lingle. It also contradicts polling we have done in this race that shows Hirono leading Lingle by 19 points.”

Let’s call it a case of dueling numbers, or “I’ll show you my poll if you’ll show me yours.”

Hanabusa stayed mum on the senatorial race, but her campaign spending report showed her with a tidy $228,000 for the AprilJune period.

Lingle wasn’t talking numbers either. She was telling folks at Hawaii’s Grassroots Institute what a fine bipartisan player she would be in the Senate.

But Case and Hirono (and maybe Hanabusa) have an old Lingle number in mind: $6 million, the amount she raised in 2006 for her gubernatorial re-election campaign against only token Democratic opposition. Lingle is a prodigious money-raiser; her numbers in 2012 will be spectacular.

Lingle must worry about someone else’s numbers: those of President Barack Obama. The president, derisively referred to as the “Fundraiser-in-Chief” by Republican partisans, raised a record $760 million for his 2008 campaign, enough to outspend Republican John McCain 4 to 1 in several of the battleground states. This year it’s estimated Obama will raise and run the first $1 billion presidential campaign.

It’s tough enough for a Republican to win in a state as Democratic as Hawaii, tougher still when Hawaii Democrats have a native son at the top of the ticket, and probably impossible if that native son has sufficient funds to spend oodles of money, even in a seemingly safe state like Hawaii. But with $1 billion in his pocket, Obama will be able to do just that.

Numbers. You’d think it was all about numbers and maybe it is.

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