Mike Honda’s poll shows few know Ro Khanna

Rep. Mike Honda continued his double-barreled defense against a potential Democratic challenger Thursday by releasing a poll showing he has 10 times that person’s support.

honda.jpgAccording to the poll Honda’s campaign commissioned from Lake Research Partners, Honda starts with 57 percent support to Ro Khanna’s 5 percent. Khanna, a former Obama Administration official with $1.26 million in his campaign coffers, is rumored to be announcing a 2014 campaign against Honda soon.

Republican Evelyn Li, who challenged Honda last year, shows at 13 percent in this poll, and 23 percent of voters are undecided. The live telephone poll of 503 likely 2014 open primary voters, conducted Feb. 17-20, has a 4.4-point margin of error.

“Mike Honda is well-known and well-liked by the people he represents,” pollster David Mermin said in Honda’s news release. “His potential challengers are unknown and will face a long road to persuade voters to choose them over the Congressman.”

Khanna declined to comment on the poll Thursday: “I haven’t made any announcements yet about my future plans, but I am committed to serve where I can do the most for Bay Area residents.”

Mermin also noted that among voters who are tech-industry workers, Honda leads Khanna 56 percent to 6 percent. Khanna, who served as a deputy assistant secretary of commerce from 2009 through 2011, last year released his book “Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key To America’s Future,” and he has worked to cast himself as a young, aggressive policy maker who’s in tune with the high-tech sector’s needs.

California’s 17th Congressional District is the first in the continental United States to have an Asian-American majority. Honda’s poll shows he holds 68 percent support from East and Southeast Asians, 59 percent from South Asians, 63 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of white voters.

Ro KhannaNone of this comes as much of a surprise, as Khanna, 36, remains largely unknown in the district – he has not yet even confirmed he’s a candidate, and the Honda’s poll shows 86 percent of voters don’t know who he is.

That hasn’t stopped a clearly-spooked Honda, 71, from moving swiftly and aggressively to try to quash his campaign before it starts; Honda in the past two months has rolled out endorsements from big guns such as President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, and former DNC chair Howard Dean – and we’ve still got a year and two and a half months until the June 2014 primary.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.