Did Momentum Give Prevedouros a Final Push?
By Michael Levine on 09/21/2010
A Civil Beat analysis of election results shows anti-rail mayoral hopeful Panos Prevedouros gained ground in every district between early voting and election day.
All told, Prevedouros came in third in the race with 18.5 percent of votes to Peter Carlisle's 38.8 percent and Kirk Caldwell's 34.6 percent. If you eliminate the minor candidates and blank votes, the split was approximately 42-38-20.
The analysis shows Carlisle's lead was built during early voting. The City and County of Honolulu started mailing out its absentee ballots in the final days of August1 and received them through election day. Early walk-in voting was open from Sept. 3 until Thursday.
Statewide, a record 129,000-plus absentee ballots were cast — a figure that includes both mail-in and walk-in voting. In Honolulu, more than 45 percent of the 207,000 votes cast were absentee. Of Honolulu's 93,692 absentee ballots, more than 80,000 were received by the end of the day Thursday, according to figures provided by city and state elections officials.
Carlisle got 39,462 absentee votes, Caldwell 33,325 and Prevedouros 13,947. Among those three candidates, the split was 45.5-38.4-16.1. Prevedouros' support skyrocketed on election day — largely at Carlisle's expense.
The election day precinct totals were 41,027 for Carlisle, 38,457 for Caldwell and 24,462 for Prevedouros, an analysis of the precinct-by-precinct data [pdf] shows. That split is 39.5-37.0-23.5, meaning Carlisle dropped by six full points and Caldwell dropped by 1.4 while Prevedouros gained by 7.4 percent, increasing his tally by nearly half.
Candidate Absentee Pct Election Day Pct Change
Carlisle 45.5 39.5 -6.0
Caldwell 38.4 37.0 -1.4
Prevedouros 16.1 23.5 +7.4
Source: Civil Beat analysis
Prevedouros' gains were not limited to any one area. In fact, Prevedouros got a higher percentage of votes on election day in all of Oahu's 35 House districts than he had in absentee voting. Meanwhile, Carlisle lost ground in every district except Waipahu, where he showed minor gains on Caldwell in the district where the acting mayor was born.
It's unclear if Prevedouros actually made headway with voters in the final weeks of the election or if Prevedouros boosters are less inclined to participate in absentee voting than the population as a whole.
Civil Beat's pre-election poll conducted in early September showed Prevedouros with 20 percent support, a major increase over the 11 percent found by an earlier poll conducted by Hawaii News Now and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in August. His campaign touted the increase as a sign that Prevedouros was gaining steam.
Civil Beat's pollster cautioned that Prevedouros supporters might abandon ship and instead back the conservative Carlisle against the liberal Caldwell when they realized their preferred candidate had little chance of winning. If anything, it seems to have been the reverse, with Prevedouros poaching voters from Carlisle on election day.
Prevedouros has already said he's serious about another run for the city's top job in 2012. Perhaps the momentum — if that's the right word — exhibited by his campaign in 2010 will make that prospect even more tantalizing.