June 22nd, 2009
12:26 PM ET
11 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. SLM

    No kidding!! We're sick and tired of lying and cheating politicians.......both Democrats and Republicans. This may be the only true bipartisan issue!!

    June 22, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  2. Jay

    Yet Another Republican Man of Character.

    June 22, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  3. Dawn in Pa

    Senater Ensign, what you throw into the karma, comes back threefold,.
    which means do not critize others if you are doing the same...

    June 22, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. dominican mama 4 Obama

    I find sen. Ensign's confession a strategic move on his part. He is not up for re-election until 2012, by then the furor and reverberation to his confession would've faded into the woodwork. His party cannot afford to alienate him as a potential frontrunner in '12 as they have few viable options.

    He did screw up by not informing his ex-paramour of his intentions to make the affair public knowledge. Now the hubby is none too happy,. Ooops!!

    June 22, 2009 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  5. Ugly partisan hypocrite

    Republican bashing begins in 3...2...1...

    June 22, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  6. Rumsfeld

    The political obituary of Senator Ensign has been written. The price paid for the choices that are made. Wish him the best understanding full well that he should no longer hold a public office.

    June 22, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. tom limperos

    One more lying cheating politician.Term limits please.

    June 22, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. SJ

    More "do as I say, not as I do" from the "party of personal irresponsibility." The GOP.

    June 22, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  9. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Of course they dropped. Who does he think he is?... Bill Clinton

    June 22, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  10. Mark

    His popularity will rebound. He's a great senator with great ideas. His wife forgives him so do I. Plus, he was separated from his wife at the time.

    June 22, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  11. John E Lexington KY

    Like Gingrich, Vitter, etc. Ensign who played Clinton's affair for all it was worth (and in the process prevented Clinton from firing the weak FBI director Freeh because it would have looked like a coverup at a time when the 9/11 terror plots were being hatched) is quite forgiving of himself, even though there is money involved (both the woman and her husband got suspicious raises and promotions during the affair). He should be forced to resign. What he did is way beyond Larry Craig, but of course Ensign only destroyed a marriage and two careers – make that three – why should he be contrite? I will give him credit for one thing – he didn't trot out his wife to his new conference a la Vitter and Craig.

    The Republican Party has a unique method of recruiting senatorial candidates. It trolls for pond scum and only puts up the slimiest.

    June 22, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  12. Hannah Stevens

    Do people really care if a politician is having an affair? Probably not but I would guess it all comes down to the dishonesty of it. If he/she is cheating on a spouse then he/she could cheat on you and me. When are these guys going to get it?

    June 22, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  13. Peoples Voice

    And in another sign of hypocrisy, he is not going to resign like he advised Clinton and Craig to do. Then I didn't expect him to. He is, after all, a Republican.

    June 22, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  14. pat

    The sad thing is that I expect a vast major of congress (both parties) have affairs. Read "Inside Congress" by Ronald Kessler. If there is one thing that congress is bipartisan about, that is taking advantage of tax payers moneys, PAC contributions, acting above the law. Why don't you report on this abuse CNN?

    June 22, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  15. J Wills

    To cheat on your wife is bad.

    To cheat on your wife with someone ELSE'S wife is even worse.

    To cheat on your wife with someone ELSE'S wife and that man works for you

    – proves you're just a low-life scum bag.

    June 22, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  16. Terry from West Texas

    A lot of men have affairs. I would say that the more prominent the man, the more likely that he has had an affair. Many women find powerful men to be intoxicating, and they provide an easy target, especially for a man who likes to have his ego stroked.

    While I believe that any Conservative should be thrown out of office by the voters because of their unsavory political beliefs, I don't want to investigate the sex lives of our public servants. There is no law against adultery, and I can't see that the republic is in any danger because of it. While it seems hypocritical for a "family values" Republican to preach one thing while doing another, Republicans must by now realize that their leadership does not believe in any of that stuff they've been saying all these years. If they really did, they would have actually tried to implement some of it, but they never have. Not even once.

    I would much prefer to give everyone in Congress a polygraph test during which they are asked if they have broken any laws or told any lies while in office.

    June 22, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  17. I can see Canada from my house!

    The funny thing about this whole business is that both Ensign and Senator Vitter represent states where prositution is either legal, or where people turn a blind eye towards this sort of thing. The lack of so-called "traditional morality"(which is really just a desire to judge people for behavior they have not been caught at yet themselves) or people's willingness to compartmentalize it, is actually saving their careers. Does anyone find the irony of this amusing?

    June 22, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. Pat-Indianapolis

    Despite this he's still more popular in his homestate than his working partner Harry Reid. Reid is viewed even more unfavorably.

    June 22, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  19. rand

    It's not that Ensign had an affair that bugs me. It's the complete hypocrisy that seems to be plaguing the GOP in general.

    Here we have a "rising star" of the GOP that voted to have Clinton removed from office for his affair with Lewinsky. Plus, he has been a huge opponent of the equal marriage act. But the thing that bugs me the most is his holier than thou involvement with THE PROMISE KEEPERS which is a conservative evangelical group that promotes strong families and marriage.

    I usually don't care what goes on behind closed doors. But this guy is slime and he has blatantly proved it.

    June 22, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  20. George

    What did he want President Clinton to do? He should take his own prescriptions as remedy for adultery. He now wants to be seen as a victim. This double faced idiot should know that the real victim here is the man whose marriage and family he has destroyed. Shame on you senator, your sins have caught up with you. You threw the heaviest rocks at Bill Clinton, only to find yourself on the same chair. This couple was working for you and your family values platform. REALLY.

    June 22, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  21. mw

    My, my. Who would have thought!!! Another "pure" repug found to be a hypocrit. Imagine that.

    June 22, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  22. Rich Monk

    The biggest hypocrites eventually go down hard.
    You Republican Swine!

    June 22, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  23. Sari

    625 voters? With a 4% margin of error?!?! Yet another useless survey brought to you by The Review Journal. I said the same when they polled about Harry Reid. As a resident of Las Vegas, I personally see no use for that trashy-rag-that-calls-itself-a-newspaper than lining bird cages.

    That being said, Ensign's numbers would probably be worse if accurate polling WERE done. He's just screwed too many Nevadans over.

    June 22, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  24. Frank

    In my opinion, a person who can not keep their marital vows and violates the trust of their spouse and family can't be trusted in more major things like the country.

    June 22, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  25. yuri

    But of course! Cheating on wives have become or are becomin' a fashion statement for the pompous politicians, who pronounce their affairs in public, sometimes, with pageantry.

    June 22, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
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