June 22nd, 2009
12:26 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: Ensign's numbers plunge after admitting affair

 A new poll is out with favorable rating for Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign.

A new poll is out with favorable rating for Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign.

(CNN) - A new poll of Nevada voters suggests that Senator John Ensign's favorable rating among people in his home state is plunging since he admitted to an extramarital affair.

Thirty-nine percent of people questioned in a Las Vegas Review-Journal survey conducted by Mason Dixon Polling and Research Inc. have a positive view of Ensign. That's down 14 points from a month ago. Thirty-seven percent say they regard Ensign unfavorably, up 19 points from May.

But the poll suggests that 62 percent do not think Ensign should resign from the Senate over his admission of infidelity, with 29 percent saying he should step down.

The poll was conducted Thursday and Friday. On Tuesday Ensign announced the nine month long affair with a married campaign staffer. The senator says he and his wife have reconciled.

Ensign is not up for re-election until 2012.

"His numbers have obviously dropped. He's obviously suffered damage because of this," says Mason-Dixon Managing Partner Brad Coker says in the Las Vegas Review Journal. "But it could be a lot worse for Ensign. The really significant question is that only 29 percent think he should resign right away. He does have the ability to stay on and turn this around."

The survey indicates that only 17 percent of Republicans want Ensign to step down. That number jumps to 40 percent among Democrats. One in four men think Ensign should resign. That rises to one in three women.

The two-term senator was considered a rising star within the Republican party. Earlier this month he spoke to a conservative group in Iowa, sparking speculation that he was considering a stab at the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. A day after admitting to an extramarital affair, Ensign resigned his position as head of the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-ranking elected leadership position among Senate Republicans.

The poll suggests that even after dropping 14 points, Ensign's favorable rating is slightly higher than that of Nevada's senior senator, Democrat Harry Reid. Thirty-four percent of those questioned in the survey had a favorable view of the Senate Majority Leader. Only one in ten had a positive view of the state's extremely unpopular governor, Republican Jim Gibbons.

The Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. survey was conducted Thursday and Friday, with 625 Nevada voters questioned by telephone. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.


Filed under: John Ensign • Polls • Popular Posts
soundoff (216 Responses)
  1. paul oregon

    the grand old party of NO is about as relevent as mud in ones eye
    people when its time to vote just think of the last 8 yrs. and the amount of
    money you lost in your retirement fund. then think were you would be if
    mccain-palin had won? scary isnt it.

    June 22, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. RAG

    On the bottomless hypocracy of the GOP!!!

    Ensign shouldn't step down, but Bill Clinton shouldbe impeached? If anything proves that the witch-hunt against Bill Clinton had nothing to do with his behavior and everything to do with his politics, this is it. They couldn;t attck his sober, successful policies so they trumped up an irrelevant morals scandal.

    I would say "Shame!" if they had any.

    June 22, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. Tim

    GOP losers.
    Citizen Kane????

    June 22, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Amar N

    He needs to resign the way he called for Bill Clinton to resign. These republicans were RUTHLESS to President Clinton, never giving him the chance, attacking him on every front. Resign, Senator Ensign.

    June 22, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  5. SHIRLEY SDL

    The hypocrisy of Ensign is what bothers me most about this situation. If repubs didn't set themselves up as the moral leaders of everyone, then this story would not be so ludicrous. He should resign, just as he has said others in similar should do. As the story goes on, I wonder how much more will come out about this hypocrit.

    June 22, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  6. Ron L

    The thing that is MOST ANNOYING about this situation is HE IS A HYPOCRITE to the max. I am so tired of these self-righteous blowhards condemning everyone elses behaviour and then doing the SAME thing or even WORST. He's a LIAR and a CHEAT and if he will do it to his wife he surely will lie and cheat the voters of Nevada!! WAKE UP PEOPLE !! We have to many LIARS and GAME PLAYERS in the Congress and Senate. We need NEW BLOOD in Washington D.C.

    June 22, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  7. SG Baker

    Yep, here we go again. The New Democratic Party is still on its quest to eliminate competition at the POLLS. How come they buried their heads in the sand once John Edwards situation was exposed. Kinda wonder about the media that is controlled by the white house these days, eh. Maybe it is true. I am all for FREE MEDICAL CARE. Only the intelligent people understand that nothing in this world is free! Someone has to pay and pay big.

    June 22, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    He wanted Clinton impeached. Why shouldn't we ask him for his resignation? Hypocracy at it's worst. This is not a right vs. left problem, this is an American problem. As much as we see Sarah Palin in the news making a spectacle of Republican/Conservative values, this is just a another blow to the GOP.

    Edwards – cheats on wife(just to be fair)
    Palin – daughter has child out of wedlock
    Ensign – cheats on wife
    McCain – cheats on 1st wife
    Airport Senator – pervert

    The GOP really needs to give up on the whole family values ideal, becaus clearly they have none.

    June 22, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  9. CNN GOP Bashing at it again

    CNN doesn't miss a beat! Wait for this on Monday AM to launch this convenient piece on the GOP.

    CNN is IN THE DEMOCRATIC TANK!

    June 22, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Eric

    The man ran on family values, he screamed for Clinton to resign after the Lewinsky affair. This is hypocrisy at its finest folks.

    June 22, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. James M. Holmes

    Just another "holier than thou" Republican...

    I don't think someone's personal sex life should be anyone's business. That said, when you want to stand on your "high horse" and judge others, then you should be held to the standard that you have set for others...

    But he wont. Republicans these days seem to have NO SHAME!

    June 22, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  12. Duck Fallas

    This is all Bill Clinton's fault. Thank God for the Senator Ensign's courage. Please lecture me further on how I should be living my life so that I may emulate you.

    June 22, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  13. LIP

    Those topics that one would like to contribute some substantive comments to aren't available, but this kind of "flies to crap" topics with the all too common "yellow journalism" theme line are always here for the Liberal degenerates to drool all over.
    As usual, nice work CNN.

    June 22, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  14. Bill

    Senator Ensign should practice what he preaches to Senator Stevens and former President Clinton. It is just amazing when the shoe drops on the other foot how Senator Ensign seems to have forgotten his holly than thow words.

    Senator Ensign you are a disgrace to the state of Nevada please resign from the Senate ASAP!

    June 22, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Has he been doing the job that he was elected to do? Has he been representing his state in the Senate? If he has he could stay as far as I am concernt, but he should be questioned if he plans to run again. He has broken the trust that many people placed in him. This does draw against his credability.

    June 22, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. Mike in MI

    And it's these kind of Republicans that think that marriage should be between one man and one woman... funny when you think about it... Happy Gay Pride everyone!

    June 22, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. Steve in Denver

    When you call for somebody's resignation (Clinton) for having an extra-marital affair, and you are found to be having one yourself, how on earth do you not resign from office? He's only one step above Gingrich, at least he wasn't having an affair (that we know of) WHILE he was proposing to remove Clinton from office.

    Still, I just can't imagine how much more hypocracy one party can have under it's tent.

    June 22, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. Pel

    Now is the time for the great senator of the great state of Nevada to live up to his own words and resign. Remember he was one of the leading congressperson who was adamant that President Bill Clinton should resign.. Also, he has champion the view, if you were not the perfect person you should be forced from office. There was no room to be human and error in life. So, Senator Ensign I know we the American people willo soon here you say, I am resigning my senate seat so the people of Nevada can elect a senator that is human and has human flaws.

    June 22, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. Jan from Madison WI

    So much for family valuse, typical of the GOPER BRAND, hidding behind family value but committing the wrong that they accuses people of.

    June 22, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. Winston

    Senator, just cut to the chase and resign;just as you have suggested to so many others that have found themselves in awkward,politically unfavorable positions.

    June 22, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  21. Peter E

    I'm not sure what I find more disappointing: the media for thinking personal matters are anyone's business but those involved, or the fickle public for thinking it should be a deciding factor in an election.

    June 22, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  22. Pat Dunedin Fl

    Wasn't he a member of the Christian Group, The Promise Keepers?
    The Republicans reap what they sow. Larry Craig and Mr Vitter
    are all pretty much the big picture for the Repubes. Lets hope
    the south and the midwest can get their heads out their behinds
    and smell the real stink weeds!!!!!!!

    June 22, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  23. Limbaugh is a liberal

    The GOP has always championed high personal morals. That's why the first, and so far only divorcee president was the king of them all, Ronald Reagan!

    June 22, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. Margaret

    Politicians, PLEASE LISTEN:

    WE, the People, have HAD IT with your lying, and cheating. PERIOD. We have the right to expect MORE of the people who lead this nation, no matter WHAT PARTY YOU ARE.

    We expect you to follow our laws, PAY YOUR TAXES, be faithful to your spouses and in general, try to be good role models.

    BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, REMEMBER THAT YOU WORK FOR THE PEOPLE and NOT the other way around.

    ANYONE not following these rules is subject to termination at the next election. PERIOD.

    June 22, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  25. Bev - NYC

    He should have to re-pay all campaign funds used on pay raises to his lover and her son.

    June 22, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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