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Ensign’s Popularity Slips in Nevada

Sen. John Ensign’s (R-Nev.) popularity has slipped in the wake of his acknowledgment that he had an affair with an ex-staffer, but Nevadans don’t think he should resign his Senate seat over the scandal, according to a new Las Vegas Review-Journal poll.The Review-Journal’s survey of 625 Nevada voters, conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research Inc. on Thursday and Friday, said 39 percent view Ensign favorably compared with 37 percent who view the Senator unfavorably. The margin of error was 4 points. A similar survey conducted for the paper in May put Ensign’s approval rating at 53 percent.Ensign admitted to the affair with a former campaign aide, later revealed as Cynthia Hampton, on Tuesday. One day later he relinquished his job as the Republican Policy Committee chairman, but he has given no indication he intends to resign his Senate seat.On that point, the Review-Journal asked those polled whether Ensign should step down. Sixty-two percent said they did not, compared with 29 percent who said he should resign. Ensign is up for re-election in 2012. Even though Ensign’s popularity has taken a hit, the Review-Journal said he remains more popular than the state’s governor or senior Senator, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D). Reid, according to the poll, registered a popularity rating of just 34 percent, while embattled Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons’ favorability registered at just 10 percent.

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