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. skyhawkdriver

    Your career as a politician is over ensign..of course now you can retire..collect a pension..have free health care for life..and go to work as a political consultant on cnn or fox..or work as a lobbiest for the drug companies and make millions..all paid for by us..once again the taxpayers get the giant screw

    June 22, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Marty, Grand Rapids Mi

    Bye. I hope a democrat takes your seat.

    June 22, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. The black spider

    Hypocrites can not be trusted. It will teach lesson to others or to zip their pants.
    If he was quite during the clinton impeachment then i would understand but he is a green snake hidding under green grass. Get him out of politics that is not his job.

    June 22, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Cache

    Of course he won't step down. All politicians are 'do as I say, not as I do'. He will run again 'because the people need him' and he will do as he always has–in HIS best interests. Why else did he break his marital vows? I'm a strong Republican and I have to say this is the kind of man I find appalling.

    Remember that he said in his marriage vows that he would be faithful–can we really trust if he would lie to his wife that he would treat the US and its citizens any differently?

    June 22, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. Demarcus Jackson from Columbia, TN

    If the voting citizens of Nevada are smart, then they will kick Sen. Ensign out of office. He is just another symbol of hypocrisy within the Republican Party. This man has spent all of his political life denying rights from gays and others who would others cherish marriage more than he has.

    June 22, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Joe the REALIST...!

    It's so obvious that the Republican party has defined themselves as the party of "Hypocrites"......They really have only a couple of people that you can really take serious, and thats (Colin Powell & Charlie Christ)....

    The majority of them seem to just play games and robotically oppose any and everything the President does or says....

    I think the picking of Sarah Palin as a legitamate VP choice solidified their march into irrelevance, this move showed not only Americans, but Europeans as well, that Republicans are just mere political game players, they shouldn't be taken serious....

    June 22, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. JonDie

    I would hope so. This self-righteous buffoon has built his career on being a "promise keeper." Nice of the media though to try to protect Ensign by putting John Edwards on the front pages.

    June 22, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. elsonson

    Another one bites the dust!

    June 22, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. William

    This affair should have nothing to do with the Senator's performance in his job. All this amounts to is a bunch of gossip that should just be put into perspective. His private life is his affair.

    June 22, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. southerncousin

    Tammy, don't understand you comment? Are you saying this just happens to conservative republicans? Are you a naive dope smoker? Or just a plain liberal bigot?

    June 22, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  11. Robin

    Not surprising. Republican, Democrat, Independant. They would all feel the same fall out.

    June 22, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. George the Democrat Obama fanatic.

    Vegas is Sin City, whatever you want Vegas can make it happen for the right price. How can they get mad at their own senator for an affair. BTW I love Vegas.

    June 22, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. NeverScared

    This IS the same guy who demanded Clinton's resignation after his infedility became public, right???

    Ensign needs to RESIGN and.............kick rocks!

    June 22, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. DX in TX

    I can hear the Karl Rove minds grinding now...Republicans are searching for a Lewinsky to bring down President Obama...I'm sure!
    Come on you know the Republicans are constantly looking for ways to destroy this president. It's what they do...

    Obama/Biden
    2008/2012

    June 22, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. ~~ July ~~

    Oh come on!!!! That is soooooooo unfair!

    Whatever happen to ' What happens in Vegas , stays in Vegas' LOL!!

    June 22, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Marydoe

    Shocking. Could it be b/c people are fed-up with lying hypocrites representing them? I mean, Ensign was outraged that Bill Clinton did the same thing to his wife that Ensign did, and Ensign thought Bill should be impeached. Priceless.

    June 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. was he on the hit list?

    someone surely could check the AIPAC hitlist.

    June 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. Joanna in PA

    I am going to be constant, his affair is really none of my concern. But wasn't this man calling for Clinton to resign? Isn't he in a group (for men only) called the promise keepers? He certainly is a Hypocrite! But again, really none of my concern, Just like Clinton's and Edward's affairs were none of my concern. Clinton's impeachment was a total shame and a waste of money. It took time and effort, not to mention money from real issue. Affairs should be between the spouses.

    June 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. Nathan

    CNN, where the horse races never end. I got so sick of the campaign coverage already by last summer. I don't need to know about every single person who changes their mind about a candidate because of this or that. I got tired of hearing about Bush's approval rating and I'm getting tired of hearing about Obama's (and I'm a strong Obama supporter, by the way). But numbers appear to be the most important thing about a person, to CNN. This is schlock journalism.

    June 22, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  20. whitefences

    If any politician is caught with his pants down, he should resign. Automatic. Period.

    June 22, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. A. K.

    YET ANOTHER REPUBLICAN HYPOCRIT!!! Does old Ensign remember attacking Clinton for his morals and suggesting that he resign. Just another case of "do as I say, now as I do?"

    Hypocrits who want to start a war on another front in the mid east.
    I am no longer a Republican; I am an Independent.

    June 22, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  22. Respect

    I still waiting for John McCain to give us the direction on how to catch Bin Lade. Remember he said he knew how to catch Bin Laden, although during Bush's presidency he offered no advice and now he is doing the same thing under Obama's.

    John are you protecting Bin Laden? We Americans want to know...

    June 22, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. Pat in IL

    Having an affair is between him and his concious, his family, and his God, but hyprocricy is the business of all of his constituents. Being a hypocrit is being a liar, and once lied to, you don't know what to believe or what the motives are behind his decisions, because to lie is the ultimate act of selfishness. If he can't be accountable in his personal life, then what chance is there of him being accountable in his public life?

    June 22, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Mississippi Mike

    No kidding. Numbers plummet after admitting affair. There's a piece of hard-hitting analysis.

    June 22, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. Squigman

    Maybe the American people are finally seeing their elected representatives for what they are. They are elected, not appointed. They are employed by the people, not the rulers of the people. And, yes they are human. But the biggest thing making most people question their choice of leaders, is the hypocritical way their leaders want to lead. None, and I mean none of the elected people, whether Senate or Congress, should try to place what they believe is moral into any equation for the masses. Especially when they can not live up to the standards themselves.

    June 22, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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