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. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon


    Once a cheater, always a cheater!

    They all say they "reconcile," but the wife does this, as usual, to keep her husband's career afloat.

    June 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  2. Anonymous

    What this boils down to is ethics. The good senator demanded resignations when others in government were caught literally with their pants down. If the senator is truly an ethical man, he will resign his post.
    I don't expect him to resign. He'll follow the party line of "We make the rules for everyone else, but we do what we want."

    And "Ugly partisan hypocrite", can you PLEASE think of SOMETHING else to write? This countdown you post with regularity just shows that you have nothing to say and probably can't put a coherent sentence together. The Republicans are being bashed because they've acted like arrogant fools for 8 years and continue to do so. They have sewn what they are reaping. Get over it.

    June 22, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. SparksNV

    I am sick of hearing "but he was separated from his wife so it is ok"
    1. marriage vows are "until death do us part" not until we are "separated"
    2. look at the time line: the affair started in Dec 2007, he was separated in April, 2008...do you think the affair may be the cause of the separation?
    3. he reconciled with his wife in July 2008, but he didn't end the affair until August, 2008. That makes him an even bigger sleazebag..
    4. his wife has forgiven him??? her statment sounds like it was written by a script writer for the Stepford wives.

    June 22, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. truthsayer

    62% of how many people says he shouldnt step down??...... If polls do not include at least 50,000 people, they should be deemed invalid

    June 22, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Peter

    This guy was a poor Senator to begin with....About time he goes down. As for the connection of John Edwards to Ensign, I see what you're trying to say, but I will put it this way....Edwards was at least an ok Senator. What they both did was wrong and I doubt either of them shall go back into politics due to these affairs. Though at the same time shouldn't we look at how their record was years later? Edwards at least did something to help people, Ensign was just being a fool. Before saying I'm biased towards Ensign, I admit I am. But the people you have brought up (Clinton, Edwards, and others which I barely know...) At least Clinton and Edwards had brains and a record which no matter how short, it was at least better than this guy.

    June 22, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. GOP = 21st century dodo

    @ 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."

    If you give me five years and 50 million dollars, I'll find dirt on anyone. Does it not bother you that Henry Hyde, Bob Barr, and Newt Gingrich- Clinton's most vitriolic persecutors- also had affairs of their own?

    June 22, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. Lorna, PA

    It's not that he had an affair...human beings doing such things is not unusual or unforgivable....it's just the unmitigated hypocrisy of it all that makes it hard to take. Don't spew moral authority at me when your own moral high ground lies somewhere in the sewer. Okay?

    June 22, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. LINDA

    PEOPLE BE CAREFUL HOW YOU TREAT OTHERS FOR IT WILL COME BACK AND HAUNT YOU-BE CAREFULL WHAT YOU SAY ABOUT OTHERS OR JUDGE OTHERS-FOR IT WILL SURELY COME BACK AT CHA! LOOK AT ENSIGN and what he said and did to others not knowing his day was near and surely to come-so be careful what you do, say about others. Ensing bashed others around him so he lied,cheated,so now he is paying the price for all of it." BE CAREFUL"

    June 22, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. NoNo

    If you do not set your expectations to high then you wont be so terribley let down.

    June 22, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Dale

    Look, cheating is wrong period – I agree. But there is a million ways that someone could do worse, like lying to the public and taking deals under the table against public wishes. We have literally hundreds of corrupt politicians.

    I think they should all resign. But my point is none of them are clean, but the ones that affect me and the rest of the people are far worse than one that just cheats.

    So if he's a cheating Liar that don't look out for the people who elected him then YES get rid of him. But if that's all he did and he does look out for the people that elected him then NO.

    June 22, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Jefe

    Respect @ June 22nd, 2009 10:54 am ET

    Wow, great point. Funny, but frightening also. Here is a U.S. Senator, who knows how to catch Osama bin Laden, yet he continues to protect him. Highly suspect indeed

    June 22, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. katekate

    So who cares what these guys do in their spare time? It takes a certain kind of ego to propel someone to high political office. Sex is just another perk. The important issue, as several have pointed out, is the hypocrisy being exposed here. I have always been suspicious of anyone who claims to walk the high moral ground, so I'm not surprised when these characters are exposed. What does bother me is that they're taking a whole lot of folks on a very nasty ride–Christians who actually believe they are voting for people who are as humble and devout as they.

    June 22, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Cromwell

    Why should anyone be surprised.
    Ensign is just another Country Club Republican phony.

    June 22, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. LeAnne, MS

    As well they should. His numbers should plummet. If the fox is going to steal a hen from time to time, he should suffer the consequences. Hypocrisy is not becoming for a Republicans or a Democrats, but Republicans hold themselves up to be the keepers of morality. So let the numbers plunge, I say. Period, no discussion.

    June 22, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. Doug, New Jersey

    If I were him I would just follow the path of Arlen Specter, as a Democrat this affair will mean nothing, in fact if Gerry Studds can get a parade for doing far worse, maybe as a Democrat Ensign can get one too!

    June 22, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. phoenix86

    Well I see the democraps are in top form today, with their usual incoherant babble about republicans being "irresponsible", "hyprocritical" etc.

    Clinton was impeached for perjury, not for having an affair with an intern.

    The rest of the democrap arguements are just to stupid to respond to.

    June 22, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Rita, Reno, NV

    Oh, and I did not sign up to pay for his flings, his rondezvous. Where's my reimbursement? I want my tax dollars back NOW.

    June 22, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. John

    Yet another self-inflicted victim of the "Family Values" GOP, who can't practice what he preaches.

    June 22, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. Republican Slumdog

    Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I want my cake and eat it too. I want to have a wife and a mistress, I want to cheat on my wife and be president. I want to talk about the Dem's infidelity and be with my mistress. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, I want it all.

    Give me a break.

    June 22, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  20. abraxis

    Wasn't Ensign the one who castigated Clinton for his alleged affair, rightly so I might add, and then goes on to commit adultery himself?

    Let those without sin cast the first stone!!

    June 22, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Ole Miss: Sorry About The Typo

    As well they should. His numbers should plummet. If the fox is going to steal a hen from time to time, he should suffer the consequences. Hypocrisy is not becoming for a Republican or a Democrat, but Republicans hold themselves up to be the keepers of morality. So let the numbers plunge, I say. Period, no discussion.

    June 22, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Liberals have Mental Disease

    Ensign should be voted out next election. He's just another member of Congress (and Bill Clinton) that have no values and no substance.

    June 22, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Ted Tartaglia

    Just another example that Republican support of "family values" is a charade. They talk the talk but have trouble with the walk. There is a good body of evidence to suggest these hypocrites never attempt to follow their "family values"; they just like to espouse their support.

    Republican hypocrites denounce others for philandering but many of them seem to have trouble keeping their zippers zipped up. Perhaps some zipper instructions might be useful for them.

    June 22, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. TracieG

    1)He is supposed to be a "christrian" and a member of "Promise Keepers" He is a TOTAL hypocrite.

    2)He destroyed another family. The only reason this went public is because the husband needed help. Read what the husband had to say....how he can't get work because of this idiot Ensign. His family is in disarray thanks to Ensign. Another marriage down the tubes because this idiot had the power to mess up other people's lives.

    3) He basically had sex with an employee....That is SEXUAL HARRASSMENT. He was in a position of power and ruthlessly pursued this employee who he clearly identified as being vulnerable. If not for her vulnerability then the affair would not have happened. The fact that there were pay raises during the affair implies to me "Quid Pro Quo" Sexual Harrassment.

    Ensign deserves much more than what he is getting.

    June 22, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. Fla.

    Of course Sen. Ensign's favorables are dropping. Voters do not care for hypocrisy.

    Not to mention, contributors are finding out their funds were used to double a salary in this indiscretion, along with extending paid benefits to her son at the National Republican Senatoral Committee, which Ensign chaired.

    June 22, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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