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. Jeff Brown

    Another GOP "Family Values" guy. What a bunch of hypocrites!!!!! God Bless President Obama!

    June 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. Once You Vote Black: PUMA where are you?

    His sin was playerhating others who cheated, and then getting caught. I can forgive the cheating, I cannot forgive a person with all his powers getting caught.

    June 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. EDDIE

    Why hasn't this two faced repub risigned yet?

    June 22, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. dmjakers

    Ensign is famous for calling on Democratic politicians caught in a mess to resign from the Senate - he should lead by example. His fellow Republican hypocrites will stand by him just as they have for other Republican degenerates including Senator Larry Craig the perv who plead guilty after being caught propositioning men for sex in a public restroom, Senator David Vitter who admitted repeatedly patronizing a bordello and Rush Limbaugh the convicted drug dealer and addict. Somehow, the GOP keeps them on their high horses.

    June 22, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. Gary

    Who cares about Ensign?????

    Iran is the News!!! Every leader in the free world should be speaking out strongly for the citizens of Iran, emphasizing that the government there needs to reform to give a real fair election, equal rights for women, equal rights and respect for people of all religions and friendlier relationship (without nuclear weapons) with the rest of the world. That the Iranian people deserve a representative government that looks out for their welfare and can help develop an economic, socially and politically successful country. Obama isn't doing enough, but neither are the leaders of France, Germany, Britian, India etc.

    June 22, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. rob


    I may be wrong but Clinton was impeached for committing PERJURY, SUBORNING PERJURY and OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE. He was convicted of these charges later in a court of law. But these FACTS don't matter to people like you.

    June 22, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. James, Ho. TX

    Resign Ensign; How do you expect to manage the affairs of the Country, When you can't manage your personal affairs?

    June 22, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. Sean the thinker

    Gee!! How come I never seen anything about this story or about the Senator's extramaritial affair on the FOX news website?

    June 22, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. David in NC

    This story gets coverage because Ensign has always been the first one beating the drums for politicians in sex scandals to resign. He has dug his own political grave.

    He deserves all the negative press he can get over this affair until he's forced to resign. That's just what happens when you beat the drum of moral rightness!!!!

    June 22, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  10. ThinkAboutIt

    His popularity has slipped, as it should. His hypocrisy is astounding and given he is a member of the GOP, which has become increasingly self-righteous and intolerant over the last several years, this is legitimate news.

    For those who think we should have term limits, we do: it's called being an informed voter and voting accordingly.

    Now back to coverage in Iran, where heroes every day are taking to the streets and risking their lives for their freedom!

    June 22, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. calvin


    June 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Gary, Los Angeles

    This just made him more famous, and a possible candidate for President in 2012.

    June 22, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. ThinkAboutIt

    The latest article about the affair on the Fox News website is dated June 18, 2009 (check it yourself). Guess it's hard to be fair and balanced when you've got your head in the sand.

    Can you imagine how much coverage Fox would be giving this story if the affair had involved a prominent Democrat?

    June 22, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Doc

    Another BS artist who wears Jesus as a political icon instead of observing private faith....liar, cheater, defiler of the people's trust. Like Gingrich who carried on an affair, he pilloried Clinton for his behavior, and now he too is exposed as a projection artist and loser.
    GOP is just laughable in its holier than thou mantra....

    June 22, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. ThinkAboutIt

    Keith in Austin writes "Let he without sin, cast the first stone." The problem is, this guy has made a career out of lobbing stones, in a very self-righteous, very public manner.

    It's the hypocrisy, stupid!

    June 22, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  16. SparksNV

    The poll was conducted by the GOP's Las Vegas paper so disregard it.

    June 22, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  17. Democratic hypocrisy at its best

    Notice the GOP bashers at it! They forget:

    the NJ gay governor
    The New Orleans mayor, forget his name too.
    need I go on!

    June 22, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  18. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    NEWSFLASH: Diane Feinstein will become the first POTUS in 2016. Mark my words.

    June 22, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  19. Jim H, Glendale, CA

    Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican Congress, which Newt approved of while making his van rock 'n' roll in the parking garage with his staff. The impeachment was an indictment. The Senate did NOT convict him, and the courts never found Clinton guilty of perjury either. Do your research.

    Ensign's disgraceful behavior came out only after the husband of his lover started putting pressure on him for money. Both his lover and her husband were on his campaign staff.

    Edwards' political career is over, and it's uncomfortable when one of your political heroes steps in the doo-doo. Such is politics.

    June 22, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. Texas Teacher

    I'm glad to see that most Americans will judge this man on his merits as a congressman rather than his personal life. I agree that the second survey by the GOP is totally irrelevant! Did anyone expect otherwise from the Limbaugh crowd?

    June 22, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. Jeff Brown

    To "Democratic hypocrisy at its best"

    You said
    "Notice the GOP bashers at it! They forget:

    the NJ gay governor
    The New Orleans mayor, forget his name too.
    need I go on!"

    You don't seem to understand that the GOP has turned peeping into people's bedrooms a cottage industry. The Dems could not care less who people are sleeping with. GOP HYPOCRITES!

    June 22, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. GOP = 21st century dodo

    When something like this happens (which seems to happen a lot), people are quick to point out the indiscretions of members of the other party. That's a red herring and should be ignored.

    What's relevant in this particular situation is that a sanctimonious GOP senator, who built his career on family values, was caught with his pants down.

    June 22, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Fox News ignores this and continues the story of Obama eating MUSTARD on a cheeseburger.

    The horror!

    June 22, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. I Am The Great And Powerful Rush Of Oz

    Resign, No.
    Apologize to Clinton, Vitter and Craig for being a hypocrite, yes.

    June 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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