Poll surprise of the day: Barney Frank in trouble?

posted at 2:05 pm on September 22, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The Sean Bielat campaign has declared themselves within reach of unseating Barney Frank in Massachusetts’ 4th CD, one of the presumed safest districts for Democrats in the nation.  The poll, conducted for the campaign by OnMessage, shows Frank falling below the 50% mark despite the D+14 composition of his constituency.  Bielat comes within nine points, even though the poll shows that he still badly trails in name recognition.

The memo from the pollster explains that Bielat could shock the world on November 2nd:

The ballot is very encouraging and shows Bielat at 38%, Frank at 48% and 13% undecided.

This is very encouraging because Barney Frank is an incumbent congressman who has served in Congress since 1981, has a favorable opinion slightly above 50% in a strongly Democratic district, but is now below 50% on the ballot. Frank has fallen 5 points on the ballot since July and shows that the national wave of frustration amongst the voters is even reaching the Democrat stronghold of Massachusetts 4th Congressional District.

We find more erosion of Frank’s support when we look at independent voters. In July, Frank led this critical demographic 44% to Bielat’s 37%, now, in September Frank has plunged 10 points with independents and trails with just 34% to Bielat’s 51%.

Sean Bielat has a promising chance of creating a major upset in this race. With proper funding and the ability to compete with Frank for the last four weeks of the election, Massachusetts 4 could provide the upset story of the 2010 midterm elections.

Any time an incumbent falls below 50%, it’s a sign of trouble.  In this case, Frank can’t even blame Barack Obama, who gets mildly positive approval ratings in the district, 52/42, as does Frank himself, 53/40.  In a generic ballot question, the Democrat leads here by eleven points, 44/33. Bielat gets a 24/9 approval rating, with 67% either having no opinion of him or not knowing his name at all.

Yet Frank only gets 45.2% of the likely voters polled in this survey to commit to voting for him, well below the 50% needed to secure the seat.  Beilat gets 36.5% of the vote, well above his name recognition value.  With leaners, it becomes 48.2/38.4 Frank, closer to 50% but still short — and with only 0.4% of the voters having never heard of Frank, Bielat has a lot more upside over the next six weeks.

Why has Frank fallen short?  The issue priority list gives a big hint.  Jobs and the economy top the list with 51.3% of the respondents, but immediately after that comes “Repeal the health-care bill,” with 8.6%.  Implementing ObamaCare is only a top priority with 7% of the voters in Frank’s district and finishes fifth on the list, behind getting a comprehensive energy bill and controlling federal spending.

Of course, one has to be careful with polling, especially those surveys conducted for campaigns.  In reviewing the questions used by the pollster, though, this looks very straightforward.  There are no “gotcha” questions on policy, for instance, just an open-ended question on which issues are the most important to respondents preceding the favorability questions, right/wrong direction, and the actual head-to-head question.  Other pollsters may get different results, but this survey appears to be an honest and professional poll.

It seems that MA-04 voters increasingly distrust Frank to represent those priorities in Washington.  If Bielat can get more recognition in this race, he may actually shock the world on November 2nd.

Update: Nine points is indeed a fairly significant lead, as I’ve written about the Bachmann/Clark race in MN-06, and as I will write about Toomey/Sestak with a seven-point lead later today.  But there are significant differences between these races.  Clark and Sestak are well-known within these constituencies, so neither has much upside to changing minds and grabbing votes.  Plus, nationally, the momentum is not behind the Democrats.  This is a two-way race between a nationally-known incumbent and a complete unknown, and the incumbent can’t get above 45% and has his opponent within nine points.  That’s a much different kettle of fish.

Update II: As it happens, we have some indirect corroboration of the fact that Bielat is making it a race.  If he wasn’t, Bill Clinton wouldn’t have to spend time trying to help Barney Frank keep his job.


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theCork on September 22, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Rush has a bunch of other classic quotes by this moron dealing with his anti-capitalist viewpoint that can be hung around his neck as the economy goes into the toilet.

teke184 on September 22, 2010 at 2:56 PM

I thee no contherns of the thafety and thoundness of Bawneys theat.

Ted Torgerson on September 22, 2010 at 2:16 PM

I will not have my fwiends widiculed by the common soldierwy! Anybody else feel like a little…giggle, when I mention my friend…Biggus…Dickus?

halfastro on September 22, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Now if we could only do the same to that lady in SanFran

ConservativePartyNow on September 22, 2010 at 2:55 PM

I think her being forced by her caucus to resign in disgrace would be more fun than watching her lose on Election Night. And you KNOW it’s coming if they lose badly, as she’s a millstone being hung around a lot of Dems’ necks along with Obama.

teke184 on September 22, 2010 at 2:58 PM

I think we need a SEAN BIELAT MONEY BOMB!

Mutnodjmet on September 22, 2010 at 2:10 PM

$20 on its way.

We’re going to need a bigger boat.

eyesky on September 22, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Whoops! I saw the part of the headline Barney Frank in Trouble & immediately, & wishfully, thought he was being indicted for something.
Obviously this would never happen.
Too bad.

Badger40 on September 22, 2010 at 3:00 PM

I live in Brookline, which is in Franks district. I have no idea who this guy is. If he’s within 9, then that’s awesome. However, I doubt he can beat Barney Frank here. Being a Marxist here, is a badge of honor.

Chudi on September 22, 2010 at 3:01 PM

There will be dancing in the streets…..

This man did so much to bring down the economy with his role in the housing debacle…..

It would be justice here on earth…..

INC on September 22, 2010 at 2:33 PM

oh sweeeeeet justice…

itsacookbook on September 22, 2010 at 3:01 PM

Sean Bielat on The Ed Morrissey Show today.

Christien on September 22, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Please, Lord.

Hening on September 22, 2010 at 3:05 PM

He can always open a gay brothel. I mean…been there, done that….

CynicalOptimist on September 22, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Nancy Pelosi’s momentum is the best ever!

beatcanvas on September 22, 2010 at 3:08 PM

Hi! I’mmmm ba-aaack!

After a long hiatus prepping for relocation (and yes, a slightly Galtian agenda is in play) I now have some time to rejoin the ranks of my fellow HotHeads in the comments section again.

That said, this is too good to be true and just has to be an outlier of some sort. While it would be a pleasure to show Mr.(using that term loosely)Frank the door would be nice, methinks this is just a bridge too far.

Though with the insane turn arounds in OH, PA, WI & WV, ya never know do ya? If things keep goin the way they are, Ima gonna be a havin a hell of a party this Nov 2nd!

Archimedes on September 22, 2010 at 3:08 PM

I would like to see a picture of Barney, like the one of Rizzo. That :) would be a perfect day!

nwpammy on September 22, 2010 at 3:10 PM

(R)ollback

faraway on September 22, 2010 at 3:10 PM

After a long hiatus prepping for relocation (and yes, a slightly Galtian agenda is in play)

Do dish … and welcome back.

Firefly_76 on September 22, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Scott Brown got a lot of votes from Barney’s district. Just Sayin…

dogsoldier on September 22, 2010 at 2:27 PM

Well…. Bawney’s district includes Boston, which has a large gay population. So they probably supported Brown because he’s attractive.

And they will probably continue to support Fwank because he’s like them.

Unless Sean Beliat is a particularly good looking guy.

UltimateBob on September 22, 2010 at 3:14 PM

We’re donating today!

ohiobabe on September 22, 2010 at 3:16 PM

I live in the district (Newton). Sean Bielat is the real deal. Give him money.

Republicans could not have made a better candidate in a laboratory: Marine, Georgetown/Harvard/Wharton, industry experience at McKinsey and iRobot.

I absolutely believe this guy can win. He deserves it on his own merits, not just because he would replace Barney. Go Sean!

Stefan on September 22, 2010 at 3:17 PM

Just finished donating

Vntnrse on September 22, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Vntnrse on September 22, 2010 at 3:19 PM

Time to make a modest donation, eh?

petefrt on September 22, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Schadenfreude overload!!! Please God, let this petulant arrogant criminal go down in humiliating defeat.

If defeated, CNN will probably give him a right vs. left show with Janeane Garofalo. Of course, in CNN’s universe, Bwarney would be on the right. They could call it Janeane’s Frank.

DeathB4Tyranny on September 22, 2010 at 3:26 PM

I think her being forced by her caucus to resign in disgrace would be more fun than watching her lose on Election Night. And you KNOW it’s coming if they lose badly, as she’s a millstone being hung around a lot of Dems’ necks along with Obama.

teke184 on September 22, 2010 at 2:58 PM

Yeah, but if she loses on Election Night, then the SF Democrats don’t just lose a Representative in the House, they lose seniority. Even if they recover the seat in 2012, they’ll be a long time regaining the influence thus lost. The safe, extremely progressive districts combined with the seniority rules have given the progressives excessive influence in Congress for a long time.

LarryD on September 22, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Don’t care if it’s a long shot… the dream of NO FRANK is too good. Made a contribution to Bielat; he sounds like the kind of guy who can make that long shot.

itsacookbook on September 22, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Barney’s district put the Gerry in Gerrymander.

The stereotypes about Massachusetts kind of make me laugh. Newton and Brookline are uber-liberal mextrosexual and effete. But Fall River and New Bedford really anchor the district. Blue collar mill workers and fishermen down there. Its poor, uneducated, Catholic and tough. Barney got the north because of who he is. He owned the South because of the pork and people are raised to hate Republicans. Scott Brown is one of the “cool” Tea Party people anymore, but Sean really needs to follow his lead. Too much bombast will turn the SOCO conservative Dems off.

swamp_yankee on September 22, 2010 at 3:39 PM

I think Barney will retire anyway if reelected and the Republicans take over the House. He got the bill with his name on it that he wanted, and his pet Elizabeth Warren is installed as head of the BS regulatory agency that they created together.

I don’t thiunk he will want to go back to being Ranking member of Financial Services. That is an especially brutal committee to lose control over. The majority offices are palatial, while the minority offices are literally in broom closets. The lobbyists and corporate fundraisers disappear when you lose control. Barney has run the committee like a dictator too, pushing everything through on party-line votes, denying the Republicans witnesses and amendments, and not even trying to seek consensus on anything. Payback will be a beyotch for him.

rockmom on September 22, 2010 at 3:41 PM

Will donate this evening at home. Think about the implications of Frank being defeated (oh, please, please!): if it’s known and broadcast early enough, that would signal to those further West that the “throw the bums out” wave is huge and no one is safe. An added plus would be to see shock and awe on the faces of the MSM’s talking heads.

ya2daup on September 22, 2010 at 3:44 PM

I think Barney will retire anyway if reelected and the Republicans take over the House.
rockmom on September 22, 2010 at 3:41 PM

In an interview sometime during the past year, he expressed a desire to be appointed to the post of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, where he could continue to practice his disastrous meddling in the housing / home loan markets.

ya2daup on September 22, 2010 at 3:48 PM

With leaners, it becomes 48.2/38.4 Frank.

I can understand why the leaners want to get behind Frank. They certainly don’t want to be in front of him.

pain train on September 22, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Donated $15.00 to Sean. I hope he uses it to hit Barney hard.

30 pcs of silver on September 22, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Donated $15.00 to Sean. I hope he uses it to hit Barney hard.

30 pcs of silver on September 22, 2010 at 3:53 PM

Bad word choice there.

swamp_yankee on September 22, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Repeat after me: There is a God.
Randy

williars on September 22, 2010 at 4:05 PM

No seat is safe around Barney Frank.

Jocundus on September 22, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Looks like Nazi Lugosi is gonna get her swamp drained after all.

It would be so sweet to see Bwawney and The Witch tangled as they circle in the vortex.

ontherocks on September 22, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Nice to see that Bawney can blow the election…

Bruno Strozek on September 22, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Thread winner

Kevin71 on September 22, 2010 at 4:10 PM

If Barney Frank lost, that would be the sweetest defeat in 2010…

Khun Joe on September 22, 2010 at 4:14 PM

1) How did he allow some to run against him? He usually makes sure he is unopposed.

2) Why would people vote for him? Even unopposed, I would write in the name of a dog, Mickey Mouse, anyone, we would be better with no one in the seat then him.

jeffn21 on September 22, 2010 at 2:11 PM

Funny, you should mention that. 20% of his district voted for a LaRouche activist.

kiakjones on September 22, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Doze wasscally Wepubwicans and Bwown voters are weally, weally are making Fwank we-gwet the pwospect of wunning in da cuwwent puhwitical cwimate.

viking01 on September 22, 2010 at 4:28 PM

No seat is safe around Barney Frank.

Jocundus on September 22, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Damn…you beat me to it. :)

Dopenstrange on September 22, 2010 at 4:41 PM

Awwww, no vocals but sweet piano/organ

Caststeel on September 22, 2010 at 4:57 PM

That’s a much different kettle of fish.

Yeah Ed, Bwarney looks a lot like a Minnesota bullhead.

chickasaw42 on September 22, 2010 at 5:04 PM

No seat is safe around Barney Frank.

Jocundus on September 22, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Good one. I also heard he would get exiited when he heard he would get a little behind in the polls… until he found out what that actually meant….

CynicalOptimist on September 22, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Yeah Ed, Bwarney looks a lot like a Minnesota bullhead.

chickasaw42 on September 22, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Reminds me of a buglemouth bass.

Oldnuke on September 22, 2010 at 5:10 PM

Be still my heart!

Kissmygrits on September 22, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Well, isn’t that special?

bu bye bawney fwank……..

RealMc on September 22, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Quit teasin me. No way Frank goes down.
Well, not that way anyway……

JeffinOrlando on September 22, 2010 at 5:53 PM

How sweet would it be to see The Banking Queen out on his fanny in November?

RedNewEnglander on September 22, 2010 at 5:56 PM

Bawney expressed an eerie thrill of excitement when told he could get sent packing.

viking01 on September 22, 2010 at 6:08 PM

I hope they can Barney!

MCGIRV on September 22, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Funny thread. What we knuckle-draggers lack in enlightenment, we more than make up in wit.

petefrt on September 22, 2010 at 6:56 PM

Here is the chart that shows how VERY, VERY vulnerable Barney Frank is in Massachusetts’ 4th District.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/graphics/01_21_10_districts/

Barney had the lowest percentage of votes of any congressperson in Massachusetts in the 2008 election, and that was before Republican Scott Brown won his election to the Senate.

Sean Bielat really can win this election!
http://seanbielat.org/

wren on September 22, 2010 at 7:30 PM

It would be very nice to have him retired to Provincetown after November.

bayview on September 22, 2010 at 8:01 PM

That would be a Holiday gift for sure! Would love to see him go.

wi farmgirl on September 22, 2010 at 8:11 PM

He can always open a gay brothel. I mean…been there, done that….

CynicalOptimist on September 22, 2010 at 3:06 PM

I believe he failed at that however.

roy_batty on September 22, 2010 at 8:32 PM

Here is the chart that shows how VERY, VERY vulnerable Barney Frank is in Massachusetts’ 4th District.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/graphics/01_21_10_districts/

Barney had the lowest percentage of votes of any congressperson in Massachusetts in the 2008 election, and that was before Republican Scott Brown won his election to the Senate.

Sean Bielat really can win this election!
http://seanbielat.org/

wren on September 22, 2010 at 7:30 PM

I’m in District 9 and drive through 4 all the time. There are Bielat signs everywhere. It is devoid of Fuwank signs…..unexpectedly.

Heh, Heh, Heh, Brown, Beilat, Perry, & Baker; MA gets RED again!

roy_batty on September 22, 2010 at 8:40 PM

In an interview sometime during the past year, he expressed a desire to be appointed to the post of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, where he could continue to practice his disastrous meddling in the housing / home loan markets.

ya2daup on September 22, 2010 at 3:48 PM

That’ll never happen, that would be like putting a sex pervert in charge of the Safe Schools initiative.

Boy, sure talked myself into a corner with that one.

Merovign on September 22, 2010 at 8:54 PM

This is almost too much to hope for.

Hopenchange, baby!

And how could a voter not have heard of Barney in MA?

AshleyTKing on September 22, 2010 at 9:20 PM

Barney Frank overheard seating a friend at the bar at Capital Grill on Penn and 6th, “May I push in your stool?”

Jocundus on September 22, 2010 at 10:06 PM

After a long hiatus prepping for relocation (and yes, a slightly Galtian agenda is in play)

Do dish … and welcome back.

Firefly_76 on September 22, 2010 at 3:11 PM

This! Welcome back!

Who is John Galt on September 22, 2010 at 11:23 PM

The Frank Camp is not all that worried about the polls since Barney feels more comfortable when coming from behind.

Left Coast Right Mind on September 22, 2010 at 11:58 PM

The Frank Camp is not all that worried about the polls since Barney feels more comfortable when coming from behind.

Left Coast Right Mind on September 22, 2010 at 11:58 PM

I need a shower after reading that.

theCork on September 23, 2010 at 12:36 AM

Spoiler alert May Need Brain Bleach

Bill Clinton wouldn’t have to spend time trying to help Barney Frank keep his Monica’s old job.

KZnextzone on September 23, 2010 at 12:40 AM

It would be great to see him go (to prison too). The stuff these guys and gals get away with! And then there is Rangel.

Life is stranger than fiction.

Reading Thomas Sowell has been very very good for me.

Sherman1864 on September 23, 2010 at 1:05 AM

I’m in District 9 and drive through 4 all the time. There are Bielat signs everywhere. It is devoid of Fuwank signs…..unexpectedly.

Heh, Heh, Heh, Brown, Beilat, Perry, & Baker; MA gets RED again!

roy_batty on September 22, 2010 at 8:40 PM

That is great news! Thank you for sharing your local persective and words of hope roy_batty!

Barney Frank was my Congressman years ago, and I have been waiting a long time for him to be VOTED OUT OF OFFICE!!!

Go Sean Bielat!

wren on September 23, 2010 at 1:50 AM

Bawney’s Fwank needs to be cut off!

tbear44 on September 23, 2010 at 5:05 AM

Remember, too, that we have a conservative Republican named Gerry Dembrowski challenging the execrable Ed Malarkey in the 7th Congressional District of Massachusetts.

I think it’s the first time in years that Malarkey will have an opponent. He is the co-architect (with the equally vile Waxman) of the insane Crap and Tax bill, and a blowhard on Frank’s level, but with only a tenth of Frank’s intelligence.

Check out Dembrowski, send money.

MrLynn on September 23, 2010 at 8:00 AM

…..the execrable Ed Malarkey in the 7th Congressional District of Massachusetts…..

…..who singularly saved the town of Chelsea from lead paint falling off the Tobin…. or some such twaddle. That used to be one of his campaign bullet points waaaaaaaaaaaaay back when. MA sure has its share of giant douchebag congress-types that is for certain.

roy_batty on September 23, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Gosh…it would just be a terrible shame if this country didn’t have the firm hand of guidance that we get every day with Representative Barney Frank in Washington.

Jaibones on September 23, 2010 at 8:31 AM

roy_batty on September 23, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Heh.

Jaibones on September 23, 2010 at 8:32 AM

Could it be the people of Massachusetts are waking up?

Wills on September 23, 2010 at 8:43 AM

I live in 4 and haven’t seen any signs for either Sean or Barney. I’ve never heard of Sean but would vote for anyone over Frank.

The problem is most people in this state have Stockholm syndrome and will vote for Dem regardless of what happens.

Alden Pyle on September 23, 2010 at 10:13 AM

The people of MA are waking up! Remember, Scott Brown was a nobody who was way behind Coakley until very late in the race.

My 65 year old mother, a life-long MA Dem came to me the other day and asked me who to vote for this November. I have been pounding on my family for years and their emerging disgust with the Devals and Obamas of the world may have finally opened their ears.

She is in the 4th district so count 1 vote that would have gone to BAWNEY FWANK in the Bielat column. I am Facebooking Bielat all over the place (even though I will instead have the pleasure of voting for Perry in the 10th district where we were the hotbed of Scott Brown support).

I think as this gets closer to Nov. 2nd that Bielat will pick up steam as people learn who he is, much as happened with Scott.

As a MA conservative I am a natural political pessimist, but the Brown victory has shown people that they don’t have to settle for the same old crap. People are energized like never before. I may just have to volunteer for Bielat instead of Perry because I think he’s a shoe-in in the 10th.

I’ve donated to both. You should too.

SittingDeadRed on September 23, 2010 at 11:40 AM

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