This was a district carved out for Barney by the MA legislature and is considered one of the most Democratic and liberal districts in the country.
But Frank is polling below 50% and the Republican running against him, Sean Bielat, trails by only 10 points despite having terrible name recognition:
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. Bielat 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.
Experts are still not giving the Republican much of a chance. Frank is well entrenched, well funded, and has near universal name recognition. But in this anti-incumbent year, that might be the kiss of death in the end.