Call this good news/bad news for Barney Frank in his fight to hold onto his job in Massachusetts’ 4th CD. The Boston Globe reports that Frank has a 13-point lead — but only gets 46% of the vote in a two-way race, 46-33. With a week to go before voting, Frank’s inability to get a majority may reveal a serious problem, and the Globe notes that enthusiasm may be that problem (via Jim Geraghty):
US Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Newton, leads his Republican challenger, Sean Bielat, by 13 percentage points among likely voters in the Fourth Congressional District. In the race for the open seat in the neighboring 10th District, Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating leads state Representative Jeffrey D. Perry by 4 percentage points, within that survey’s margin of error.
Among those who say they are excited about Nov. 2, Bielat and Perry have double-digit leads, the polls indicate.
In both races, however, supporters of the Republican nominees say they are more excited about the election, which often correlates to higher turnout on Election Day, said Andrew E. Smith, the director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center. The center conducted the polls for the Globe.
The numbers seem strangely low for this late in the cycle, especially for two-way races:
Among likely voters in their districts, Frank leads Bielat, 46 percent to 33 percent, while Keating leads Perry, 37 percent to 33 percent, the polls found. The surveys, of 385 likely voters in the Fourth District and 349 voters in the 10th, had margins of error of 5 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively. Both were taken from Oct. 17-22.
Are we to believe that 23% of all voters have no preference in the MA-10 race, with just eight days to go? That seems very, very unlikely. The fringe candidates only absorb 5% of the vote in this district, about what would be expected in the general election.
The same can be said to a lesser extent in the Frank/Bielat race in MA-04. At this point, a long-time incumbent with a profile as high as Frank’s should either be above 50% or updating his resumé. Coming in at 46% against a relative unknown in a district like MA-04 means big trouble for Frank, which is why he had to pump $200,000 of his own money into the race and try pitching himself as a nice guy.
As for the enthusiasm numbers, it shows that some voters are more “likely” than others. We’ll see who shows up to the polls on November 2nd.
Update: Legal Insurrection reminds us that the Boston Globe poll put Martha Coakley up 15 points over Scott Brown ten days before the election.