Thursday, August 29, 2013

CA-17 Poll: Mike Honda Leads

Rep. Mike Honda has a serious challenge from former Obama official Ro Khanna. The wins by Gloria Negrete-McLeod and Eric Swalwell showed that a serious challenge can be fatal for a long time Democratic incumbent.Honda is taking it seriously and released a poll months ago. Now, a few months later, Honda allies have released another poll.

Releasing the poll makes total sense for Honda. Show Khanna, and everyone associated with him, that he still has no shot. I haven't seen the actual poll results, so I have some questions.

What is the partisan breakdown? The district is 43% Democratic/19% Republican, but it figures to be more Republican in the primary. There's no Republican candidate right now, so one of these two will get those votes and a good Democratic challenger can capture Republican votes. All things being equal, Republicans like the idea of knocking off a long time Democrat. Honda is seen as overly liberal and Silicon Valley business interests, both Republican and Democratic, could see a new rep as more favorable to them.

What hurts Honda is that California has Top Two and not partisan primaries. So not only will Khanna have a shot at the Republican votes, but will get two shots at Honda. Swalwell and Negrete-McLeod lost in June and won in November. So they had a lot of extra time to build name recognition and get votes before victories in November. Honda, and his allies, can release all the one-sided polls they want, but no one should discount Khanna's shot.

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