The Hawaiʻi

State Constitutional Convention Clearinghouse

Information Related to Hawaiʻi's November 6, 2018 State Constitutional Convention Referendum

Note the paradox between low legislative approval and high legislative entrenchment.

 

Articles on Legislature Incumbent Entrenchment

 

Incumbent Re-election Rates

Snider, J.H., Want Term Limits? A Con Con Is Your Only Hope, Civil Beat, September 21, 2018.

Primary Election Results, Star-Advertiser, August 12, 2018.

Hill, John, 3 Incumbent Lawmakers Lose State Legislative Seats, Civil Beat, August 11, 2018.

Lack of Political Party Competition

Eagle, Nathan, The Hawaii Republican Party’s Slow Path To Extinction, Civil Beat, August 7, 2018.



Articles on Low Approval of the Legislature

 

Eagle, Nathan, In Hawaii, People Like Trump Better Than They Like The Legislature, Civil Beat,September 26, 2018.

What grade do you give the just-completed 2018 Legislature?, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, May 4, 2018.

Public Trust in Government: 1958-2017, Pew Research Center, December 14,  2017. Note: Covers the problem of low government trust/approval more generally.

Riffkin, Rebecca, Americans Say Federal Gov’t Wastes 51 Cents on the Dollar; Consider state and local governments a bit less wasteful, Gallup, September 17,  2014.



Articles on Low Turnout
(people are less likely to vote with entrenched incumbents)

 

Ryan, Tracy, How To Really Fix Hawaii’s Elections, Civil Beat, August 21, 2018.

Grube, Nick, Hawaii Sets Record Low for Voter Turnout in a General Election, Civil Beat, November 4, 2014.

Editorial: 34.8 Percent Turnout? Hawaii Must Do Better, Civil Beat, August 22, 2018.

Teague, Courtney, How Low Is Hawaii Voter Turnout?, Civil Beat, June 22, 2018.

2016 November General Election Turnout Rates, United States Election Project

Turnout at August 11, 2018 Primary Election: 38.6%. This turnout figure is based on voters/registered voters, not voters/eligible voters.  Not all eligible voters register to vote.

For an academic study, see Marschall, Melissa, and John Lappie, Turnout in Local Elections: Is Timing Really Everything?, Election Law Journal: Rules, Politics, and Policy, Vol. 17, No. 3, September 18, 2018.



Advantage of Incumbency & Money in Hawaii State Legislative Races, 2015-2016

(Data Compiled by National Institute of Money in State Politics)

 

Contested General Election Races, 2015 & 2016

Money Advantage
Number of Legislative Incumbents 34
Number of Legislative Incumbent Monetary Leaders 32
Percent of Legislative Incumbents Who Were Monetary Leaders 95%
Money and Incumbency Advantage
Success Percent of Monetary Legislative Leaders 100%
Success Percent of Legislative Incumbents 94%
Success Percent of Legislative Incumbent Monetary Leaders 100%
Contested Seats
Number of Legislative Seats Up for Election 64
Number of Contested Legislative Seats 38
Percent of Legislative Seats in Contested Races 59%
Effect of Money Advantage on Non-Incumbent Candidates
Legislative Candidates With Neither Incumbency nor Monetary Advantage in Contested General Elections 42
Success Rate of Legislative Candidates With Neither Advantage 0%
Hawaii’s Rank Among the fifty U.S. states: 50
Legislative Non-Incumbents With Monetary Advantage in Contested General Elections 6
Success Rate of Legislative Non-Incumbents With Monetary Advantage 100%
Hawaii’s Rank Among the fifty U.S. states: 50

Both Primary and General Election Races, 2015 & 2016

Success Rate Among All Winners
Number of Legislative Winners 64
Number of Incumbent Legislative Winners 58
Percent of Legislative Incumbent Winners 91%
Success Rate Among Legislative Incumbents
Number of Legislative Incumbents 61
Number of Incumbent Legislative Winners 58
Percent of Legislative Incumbents Who Won 95%

Source: O’Neill, Ciara, Money and Incumbency in State Legislative Races, 2015 and 2016, National Institute on Money on Money in Politics, November 1, 20

Note: Some of this data was discussed in Snider, J.H., Want Term Limits? A Con Con Is Your Only Hope, Civil Beat, September 21, 2018.



Competitiveness of Hawaii Legislative Elections

(Data Compiled by J.H. Snider)

 

House Senate Totals
Total Seats 51 25 76
Up for grabs in 2018 51 13 64
Primary Election (Aug. 11, 2018 )
Seats up for grabs with all incumbents 44 10 54
Incumbents who lost # 2 1 3
Incumbents who lost % 4.5% 10.0% 5.6%
Seats up for grabs with elected incumbents 43 10 53
Elected incumbents who lost # 1 1 2
Elected incumbents who lost % 2.3% 10.0% 3.8%
Incumbent Re-election Rate: 96.2%
Unapposed incumbents 17 1 18
Democrats without a Republican challenger 39
2016-2018 Partisan Makeup of State Legislature*
Democrats # 46 25 71
Republicans # 5 0 5
Democrats % 90.2% 100.0% 93.4%
Republicans % 9.8% 0.0% 6.6%
Expected Partisan Makeup of State Legislature After Nov. 6, 2018 General Election**
Democrats # 47 25 72
Republicans # 4 0 4
Democrats % 92.2% 100.0% 94.7%
Republicans % 7.8% 0.0% 5.3%
Unapposed incumbents 36
* Of all fifty state legislatures in the United States, Hawaii ranks first in one-party rule for the 2016-2018 legislative session whether the metric is the State Senate, the State House, or the combined Legislature. See the raw data at https://ballotpedia.org/Partisan_composition_of_state_legislatures.
** As Civil Beat Reporter Marcel Honore observed: “The close candidate races this year all appear to have been resolved in the primary election….” See Honore, Marcel, “The Primary Is Over So What’s Ahead For The General Election?”, Civil Beat, August 16, 2018.
# This is higher than the much maligned average incumbent re-election rate of the U.S. Congress between 1964 and the present. See Reelection Rates Over the Years, Center for Responseive Politics, https://www.opensecrets.org/overview/reelect.php. It is also higher than the similarly maligned average incumbent re-election rate for state legislatures from 2001-2016. See Success Rates in Contested General Elections for State Legislatures, 2001-2016, National Institute of Money in State Politics, https://www.followthemoney.org/research/institute-reports/money-incumbency-in-2015-and-2016-state-legislative-races.

Sources:   August 11, 2018 Primary Election Results, Hawaii State Office of ElectionsPartisan composition of state legislatures, Ballotpedia. Access August 16, 2018.

Note: Some of this data was discussed in Snider, J.H., Want Term Limits? A Con Con Is Your Only Hope, Civil Beat, September 21, 2018.



Projected Competitiveness After the Nov. 6 Election

 

See Klarner Politics.

 

Pin It on Pinterest