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

Poll: Ensign's numbers plunge after admitting affair

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/22/art.ensign0622.gi.jpg caption=" 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. Martha B

    I am divorced because of an affair my husband had w/his scretary. I don't understand why men are so disloyal to their spouses. I mean, if you want to run around, if you want to date, then get a divorce!!! Be single and quit making a fool out the woman you promised to love and cherish for life. I think politicians that can't keep vows to their spouses aren't worth a crap. I could have handled a divorce request much better than the gossip, ridicule, and embarrassment I felt once my ex's affair was exposed (by his secretary when she dumped him). A man or a woman, for that matter, that lies to his/her spouse by having an affair is a coward of the highest degree.

    June 22, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  2. nunez

    Senator Ensign called for Larry Craig and Bill Clinton to resign after their affairs were revealed, and what is curious, those two did not double their mistresses salaries, did not get jobs for their mistresses 19 year old sons, and did not secure high-paying positions for the husbands of their mistresses. Senator Ensign has. What is most curious is that the Republicans do not recoil in indignation at the affairs of their fellow party members, but always shriek for Democrats to resign when Democrats are indiscreet in their personal affairs. Does this smack a bit of hypocrisy, or is it just my imagination?

    June 22, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Larry

    Another Republican bites the dust.

    Wonder what Ensign thicks we should do about Iran, not that we care what he thinks.

    June 22, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. Edwin Lee

    Both parties have their "pretty boys" whose marquee looks helped them get where they are: elected and sexually active. These superficial characteristics which get votes can also get extramarital sex when the person who has them uses them as a crutch and couples them with the personal power of elected office. It will always be thus. The sad thing is when a political party chooses to tout its family values and morality while its members behave just as badly, if not worse, than the rest of us.

    June 22, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  5. Tom St. Paul

    OK, before we get too may comments, we need to address one thing. Inevitably, a GOP loyalist will complain that American voters and the press have a double standard when it comes to extramarital affairs, claiming that GOPers who have affairs are excoriated, but Democrats are given a pass.

    Here's the deal, GOPers: What Americans REALLY hate is HYPOCRACY, even more than a public figure's affair or lies to try to cover it up. Democarats don't claim to be the "Family Values" holier-than-thou, bedroom-snooping party, wheras the Republicans do. If you want the rest of us to cut you some slack, get off the morality high-horse.

    It's the hypocracy, stupid!

    June 22, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. labop

    Just another low life politician admitting to his dirt. It's pretty disgusting.

    June 22, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. James

    Like so many politicans... the man is a hypocrit! Sleep with whomever you want, but don't take other people to task for doing the same thing (i.e.-Bill Clinton). He is also an outspoken supporter of the Defense of Marrage Act... perhaps we should add something to the Act about sleeping around on your wife...with another man's wife.

    June 22, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. Zion

    Again, the American people need to stop focusing on things that are not their business, and look out for their long term interests.

    June 22, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. Reinstate Darwinism

    It seems odd that people are so quick to judge someone. Regardless of what party they bow to. People are more than happy to judge someone without all of the facts of the subject.

    We hold our politicians to such a high standard. Often times they would rather go through the risk of exposing an "affair." Than go through the political damage of a divorce. For all we know him and his wife may have an understanding. Because they both realize what it would do to his career if it were exposed. I wonder how many politicians out there are still "married" just because of the public image.

    Which brings up another interesting point. Why is it not okay to be single and a prominent politician? Aren't we passed all of this yet? It's a barrier often not spoke of.

    How can we act surprised or outraged when we hold them to an unrealistic standard?

    June 22, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. marcus

    let's hope the dems can find a high quality individual to run against him next time he's up for re-election..

    June 22, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. GOP4Life

    This is why we will take back the country, everyone will forget about this by 2012 and his approvals will be back up!!

    June 22, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. Dave from Georgia

    Of course, conservatives do not practice what they preach. We should forgive them and move on.

    June 22, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Vic

    Just like a Republifreak. ALL talk and no action.

    He groaned and moaned for Clinton's and Criag's head on a platter during their affairs.

    Why isn't he quitting??????????

    June 22, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  14. MikeH

    Whoa CNN, let's not distract from the real story on Ensign's affair.

    Where's the coverage on why Ensign came forward about it, his attempt to say he was being blackmailed by Ensign's staffer, the womans husband (a felony crime) then Ensign's retraction that he was being blackmailed.

    I know CNN would much rather headline their Republican operative John King's latest anti-Obama tripe, but this Ensign story won't go away quick enough

    If CNN is going to dwell on superficial news, than at least cover the 'Blackmail' aspect of Ensign's affair.

    June 22, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. Mamanomia

    Right ..I love these polls...Should he have represented anything but the GOP...they would have wanted him hung...he certainly doesn't represent family values..but, because he is what he is...he gets a pass...Good ole politics

    June 22, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  16. Las Vegas cares about having an affair?

    that makes me laugh

    vote the bum out, but not for that reason

    June 22, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  17. carlo

    You know, Republicans could avoid falling so hard from grace if they would stop being so hypocritical and ordering the crucifixion of everyone who screws up.

    June 22, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. bj, Texas

    Ok ACORN paid posters. Have at it on this blog. This is what you get paid for, bashing a republican.

    June 22, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  19. katiec

    It would not have been so bad if Ensign had not been one of those republicans strongly codemming the wrong doings of others.
    He demanded resignation, showed his indignation, touting how
    pure he was.
    So many politicans while doing anything to grab the headlines believe high standards pertain to everyone but them. Maybe now he will not be so quick to judge others. His affair should not cause resignation but his hypocrasy should.

    June 22, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Parnell Meagre

    What a headline. Did they think it would improve his poll numbers?

    June 22, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. Dave

    typical Republican hypocrite...preach family values, insisted that Clinton resign back when...but now that he's caught , he wants to stay. HYPOCRITE

    June 22, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  22. GI Joe

    I think he should resign immediately. If we can't have ethical people in our government, this country is down the tubes (besides, he demanded that others in the same mess should resign – put your money where your mouth is twit).

    June 22, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. Michigan

    I find it so funny that people are this judgmental over sexual failings. America, particularly Republicans) will accept us torturing people, killing innocents in Iraq, eliminating taxes for social programs, but they are all up in arms, literally, over anything sexual in nature, and abortion. Can you say double standard?

    June 22, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  24. Tammy

    What a surprise...another conservative republican caught breaking one of those 10 commandments again.

    June 22, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |


    June 22, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
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