More funds in the coffer, but Ro Khanna trails not only Mike Honda, but also Vanila Singh: Poll

Uphill battle for Khanna in Congressional race.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: Indian American Congressional hopeful Ro Khanna has always been facing an uphill battle in attempting to supplant incumbent and fellow Democrat Mike Honda, Representative of California’s 17th Congressional District, but poll numbers indicate that Khanna may be even less likely to pull off the upset than initially anticipated.

Ro Khanna

The results of a new all-party poll, conducted by Democracy for America and Public Policy Polling, show that Khanna is trailing Honda by a margin of 19%. Honda is currently enjoying a 45% rating of supporting, which is significantly higher than Khann’s 26%. Another Indian American candidate, Republican physician Vanila Singh Mathur, has a 29% rating, three percentage points higher than Khanna’s despite entering the race in December 2013 – months after Khanna announced his candidacy.

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The way the district race works, there’s a free-for-all “jungle primary,” from which the top two candidates emerge and go head-to-head for the November election that ultimately decides who the Representative becomes. The numbers of Honda matched up directly with Khanna heavily favor the former, with the men polling 61% to 39%, respectively. When asked how they would vote for without being told party affiliations, Honda still won out, indicative of his support and name-recognition in the community (Mathur finished in a distant third when subjects were asked this question).

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Honda, 72, has been in Congress since 2001, making him a long-time incumbent and garnering him huge amounts of support from the San Jose community. Khanna, 45, is new to politics and is suffering in the polls for it. This is despite the fact that Khanna has been fundraising significantly more than Honda; Khanna’s campaign has somewhere in the region of $2 million, while Honda has just around $620,000.

The survey should be taken with a grain of salt, however, as the sample size is a meager 270 subjects, and the margin of error is a relatively substantial 6%. There is also the very real possibility that Khanna is only struggling because the primary race is more crowded, meaning that votes get more divided; should he make it through to the general race after June, victory will still be difficult but the numbers may not be so radically skewed in Honda’s favor.

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