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. RealityKing

    When is CNN going to do a poll on our Iranian reponse? Especially in light of the graphic deaths they continue to show over and over and over.

    June 22, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Lia

    His infidelities are his own business as far as I am concerned. But his history of hypocrisy shows how shallow and politically opportunistic he really is. He should resign. He is not trustworthy.

    June 22, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  3. Dave

    Whatever... another GOP leader with weird personal ethics and strangely assertive against his own ethics.

    The duplicity is a cliche.

    Let's talk more about terrorism and homosexuaity and try to forget about this.

    June 22, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. rita

    A nine month affair is a big slap in the face to his conservative constituents. Why would they want to keep him in the Senate if his conservative credentials are now so highly suspect? There can only be one reason for keeping him in office and that is because they have become increasingly comfortable with conservative politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouths. Hypocrisy now goes down as easy as a hot cup of coffee on an early rainy morning. It was a heterosexual relationship after all. It's not like he was having a nine month affair with another consenting adult male. He still has his requisite 2.5 children, wife, gorgeous politician hair, protestant church membership and firm views against love between two men or two women. If all of that is still intact, then there is no reason at all to boot him. We'll just forget about this little 9 month indiscretion and get back to attacking those pesky homosexuals.

    June 22, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. Jeff

    Another self-righteous Republican admitting to an affair? At this point I assume that the Republicans never practice what they preach. What a gaggle of creeps.

    June 22, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Al Ram

    Another Republican who does not practice what he preach. I'm sure there are more to come.

    June 22, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. Fitz in Texas

    Do these people in government think before they do stupid things? Actually, no they don't. They're politicians.

    June 22, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. rob

    At least CNN added a few lines comparing Ensign's #'s to that of Harry Reid who's approval #'s are lower. Perhaps, just perhaps that little bit of info should have been the headline.

    Ensign did the right thing in resigning his leadership post. He will recover.

    June 22, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  9. dp

    What a piece of garbage . He then would like to be re-elected. I would say he is paying more attention to women that his job.
    The wife on the other hand must not want to give up her good life with this man because she probally does not have the courage to go on her own.
    I would like to see a picture of his wife .
    You must know when you are in the public eye you do not get away with that kind of character.
    He looks arrogant in all his pictures.

    June 22, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. Darla (Edmonton, Canada)

    Is anyone really surprised? This is SO non-news ... a drop in the polls after admitting an affair ... it was inevitable ...

    June 22, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  11. bill b. from Stratford,Ct

    Gee, I wonder why the media and the Republicans aren't all over this story like they would be if it was a Democrat. When Edwards and Clinton were caught in their sex scandal, you couldn't get the media and the Republicans off the TV. The republicans spent millions of dollars to expose Clinton, John Edwards was called every name you can think of by the republicans, one republican even say Edwards should commit suicide, now you talk about going all out. But once again it's a Republican so we should feel sorry for him a just let him and his family work it out, PLEASE. If this was a Democrat, FOX NEWS and the media would be all over this like white on rice and there would be no just let him and his family work it out. HYPOCRITS

    June 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Brian0901

    Imagine that! Another "moral" republican showed his true colors.

    June 22, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. Joe in CA

    Hypocrite, hypocrite hypocrite. He's getting all he deserves. The party of NO is NO different that the rest of the world. They put them out there to nut job religious right for their vote hoping their scandals like this and Larry Craig don't ever come out but at the end of the day they are just scummy politicians that'll say anything for a vote but do what ever they want to disgrace their families. Nevada needs to vote this scum bag out in the next election and take Gov Gibbons with you. The other Republican in a messy divorce. Time for Mayor Oscar Goodman of Las Vegas to move into either of these positions..

    June 22, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. john u

    Well, I guess being a "promise keeper", lecturing people on the evils of gay marraige and how great 'holy' straight marraige is, and holding yourself up as a pillar of the community blown apart by reality has its downside.

    June 22, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Jefe

    A Republican Senator who was cheating on his wife (with a woman). That's the surprising part.

    June 22, 2009 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  16. virginia nielsen

    Typical Republican !!! Do what i say but don't do what I do !!! What a shame !!!

    June 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  17. susie

    Bill Clinton stayed in office, why shouldn't he?

    June 22, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Jay

    Yet another Republican Man of Character!

    June 22, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  19. mr. d

    He should resign– it's too bad , I have to wait until 2012- to help him resign

    June 22, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Josh from Knoxville, TN

    After the stimulus plan and all the schemes and payback fails, Obama should blame the struggling economy on global turmoil and unrest. This will give him political cover to start cracking down on political opposition here at home.

    June 22, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  21. Longhorn#1

    Who cars Gouls. This is between, him, his wife, the woman and God. It's is not for the populace and the Media to judge.

    June 22, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Anne E.

    He should do exactly what he said Bill Clinton should do.
    I'm constantly astounded by the hypocrisy of the GOP. They dog the Dems for the very same thing they themselves are doing; they think they're so above it all, and that all they have to do is "confess" and everything can go back to the way they want it to be.
    Hypocrisy, thy name is GOP.

    June 22, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. David

    Didn't this guy tell Bill Clinton to resign due to his affair? SO... why doesn't he take his own advice?

    June 22, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Robert

    Why are you giving this story so much more coverage than John Edwards received? Or numerous other democrats.

    Let's run the Edwards story every day for a few months and then do a poll about whether he should run for president again.

    June 22, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. Keith in Austin

    Let he without sin, cast the first stone.

    June 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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