July 20th, 2009
10:55 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Only 3 in 10 have favorable opinion of Ensign

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/20/art.ensignthink0720.gi.jpg caption="A new poll suggests that only three in ten Nevada voters hold a favorable opinion of Senator John Ensign."]
(CNN) - A new poll suggests that only three in ten Nevada voters hold a favorable opinion of Senator John Ensign, although most don't want Ensign to resign in the wake of his confession of an extra marital affair with a former staffer. But when the poll, conducted by Mason-Dixon for the Las Vegas Journal Review, asked whether Ensign should run for re-election, less than half the respondents said they would like to see his name on the ballot again when his current term expires.

The poll indicates that 31 percent have an unfavorable opinion of Nevada's junior senator, down eight points from June survey taken immediately after Ensign's admission, and down 22 points from May.

Ensign announced on June 16 that he had had a nine-month extramarital affair with a woman who worked on his campaign staff. Ensign said the relationship ended last August. The woman's husband worked in Ensign's Senate office.

"The Mason-Dixon poll indicates that the circumstances surrounding the affair, rather than the affair itself, are what bother Nevada voters," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Only three in ten say that the fact that Ensign had an affair is a very serious matter. But twice as many feel that way when told that the affair was with his wife's best friend, and half feel the same when told that the woman in question was the wife of a top Senate aide."

"Nevadans also seem bothered by the disconnect between Ensign's behavior and the image he presented to the public before the affair was public knowledge," Holland adds. "The poll asked respondents to react to this statement: "Ensign had an affair although he is a member of the family values group Promise Keepers." Fifty-eight percent of Nevadans say that they view that very seriously."
Ensign has stated that he has no intention of resigning his seat and says he will run for re-election in 2012. Those plans are getting mixed reviews from his constituents.

Fifty four percent of those questioned say they don't think Ensign should resign - still a majority but down from 62 percent last month. But running again is another matter. Forty-five percent say that Ensign should seek re-election; 43 percent say he should not.

"That's not good news for Ensign," Holland says. "An incumbent is usually considered to be in trouble if a question on re-election doesn't get support from at least 50 percent of his constituents. It looks like a lot of Nevada voters are OK with the idea of Ensign finishing out his term as long as he calls it quits after that."

Ensign's faced mounting pressure following revelations earlier this month that parents paid the family of his former mistress close to $100,000 after she was no longer working for the senator. A lawyer for Ensign said the payments were legally made as "gifts, accepted as gifts and complied with tax rules governing gifts."

The Mason Dixon/Las Vegas Journal Review poll was conducted July 14-15, with 400 Nevada voters questioned by telephone. The survey sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

Filed under: John Ensign • Nevada • Poll
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Whaaaat?! It was his wife's best friend?

    Goodgogamooga! This boy's got some big ones on him! I'm surprised she's allowing him to continue to walk the face of the earth with all his body parts intact!

    Tacky, tacky, tacky.

    July 20, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  2. john in ny

    That seems kind of high for him. Are these 3 people his girlfriends?

    July 20, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |

    This is in regards to President Obamas polls slipping on Healthcare first of all its CONGRESS, Second with the Republicans going around fear mongering people with the Presidents Healthcare plans you know those Republicans fear monger is what they do best because they sure dont know how to the run the country!

    July 20, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  4. Sniffit

    What? No GOPers yammering about what Rasmussen has to say on the subject? Ha. Gotta love that it's the stand-by for them. Every time a poll says something they don't like, they (a) claim it was biased and (b) cite Rasmussen's skewed stats. Duh? Rasmussen is just biased the other way. Try fiverthirtyeight.com if you want real stats.

    July 20, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  5. Sherrol in Canada

    .....and right they should.

    These C Street residents and 'Family' cult members' belief is that they are above it all, and also, chosen by God to lead.

    This belief and teachings (which by the way is referenced somehow to Hilter by the Family's leader), 'allows' them to wallow in narcissism and self righteousness.

    July 20, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  6. Ted

    Just another slimebag hypocrite Republican goes down due to an extramarital affair. He and his fellow jerk friend Mark Sanford should be forced to resign. If not, then the impeachment of bill clinton should be nullified.

    July 20, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. notfooledtx

    He's a liar and a cheat – why would his polling reflect otherwise.

    People aren't nearly as stupid as the gop and ensign would like them to be.

    July 20, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. Kurt

    Where are the righties with him, Sanford, Vitter, etc? Isn't it ironic that all these guys pointed the finger at Clinton. Here's a newsflash for ya folks...political affiliation has NOTHING to do with morality!

    July 20, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. Sick -n- Tired

    Step down already, you're a lying, cheating, C-street, hypocrit! Nuff said!

    July 20, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. frank keel

    moral values dictate he resign for good of one and all

    July 20, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. Kelby In Houston, TX

    And again, your polls mean nothing...And I don't even like this guy...

    July 20, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Taye Amos

    The only surprise is that this guy is not from the south. You find these kind of crap with the southern white males. Bunch of hypocrites. Well he's from the sin city, so what do you expect??

    July 20, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Dale

    He's human.... He messed up like millions of others do daily, but he got caught. He was sc*ewing one person, our current administration is sc*ewing millions.
    What he did might be wrong but it happens millions of times every day. Did he affect me? or you? did he cost me tons of money?

    Better look around people, I know many of you know cheaters or maybe you are one. They are trying to take your minds off other things so they feed you information like this.

    I wonder if he's the only cheating politician? Yeah right! I wonder how many really and I also wonder what they are up to like taking more of our money on another global warming scam or Obamacare.

    We are headed into a huge division in theis country. This will cause hatred like never imagined.

    July 20, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. dominican mama 4 Obama

    I gotta tell ya', that these errant Repub boys (and girl) have provided me with some really good belly laughs. It's too bad for their family and spouses, but apparently their 'divining rod' doesn't allow them to care about the effect their actions have on their loved ones. As for the rest of us: you guys crack me up!

    July 20, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Dale

    I would ventire to say that all of you at one time or another have cheated "OR" wanted too.

    None of you are perfect and neither am I nor anyone else. So please just get a life.

    Our biggest concern as Americans should be the entire political scandal. They are wiping us out and using excuses that we buy into. Oh! and keeping us fighting like this.

    Better watch all of them and never side with either, they depend on that.

    July 20, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. Ellen

    And I'll bet the three are his closest female friends!!!

    July 20, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. Kate in SW Fla

    Again, people, it is not the cheating on his wife, as much as the hypocrisy and now, we learn cash was paid out. This is more than just an affair. That makes this a serious ethics violation, whether paid by his parents or his campaign. Not good. Should resign.

    July 20, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. People Stand Up For New Leadership

    I think 3 is too many. He had an affair, paid her with mommy and daddy's money, and now he wants to keep his job. Are you kidding me. Apparently everything that happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas.

    July 20, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. notfooledtx

    Proud Member..Party of No July 20th, 2009 11:42 am ET

    The difference is that, as a republican, Ensign will not be re-elected. If he were a democrat he would be idolized and nominated for a high-level position in the party.


    Proud, it's a shame you don't recognize the most obvious difference...Democrats don't wave the family values banner – they don't tout their "Promisekeepers" membership and belittle anyone that doesn't fall within their standards – you know, the standards the republican legistlators can't adhere to themselves. Yes, Dems may also be cheaters, but they don't bludgeon you with their family values standards. Thus eliminating the glaring hypocrisy. Accept their cheating and lying all you want, but it's the glaring hypocrisy that is influencing opinons.

    July 20, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  20. tom

    Why can't anyone say Ensign was a victim of extortion. I don't say he didn't deserve it. You gotta pay to play. Another adult spoiled brat with toys that were more than he should have been playing with.

    July 20, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Obama 2.0

    That is corolation with the rest of the GOP numbers!

    July 20, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  22. ritchie

    in my own opinion the 44th president of the U.S Barack H. Obama this the great president. Why? because very smart guy he understand the situation this is the gift from GOD. This the time of president to success. the population of the U.S is almost 365 million people thats why the president budget is big.

    July 20, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. To: Obama Victim

    wow, and you have the corner on truth? I read your trash you type in here from time to time, I have a job so I miss some of your laughable quibbles

    I can only think that you must have been neglected as a child, I do feel sorry for you, but since you are determined to type your hatefilled garbage into the computer, I wish for you some time to get outside and some fresh air, you need perspective

    July 20, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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