Poll: Even With Scandals, Ensign Ahead For 2012 Reelection

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The new survey of Nevada by Public Policy Polling (D) has a startling result about Republican Sen. John Ensign: Despite the sex scandal that obliterated his presidential ambitions last year, and has raised questions about payments made by Ensign’s parents to the family of his ex-mistress, Ensign could still get reelected in 2012.

Only 38% of Nevada voters approve of Ensign’s job performance, with 44% disapproving. However, he still leads three Democrats in hypothetical match-ups. He leads Rep. Shelly Berkley by 49%-40%. He leads Secretary of State Ross Miller by 47%-36%. And he edges out Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman by 43%-41%, within the ±3.6% margin of error.“John Ensign may not be dead in the water for reelection,” said PPP president Dean Debnam, in the polling memo. “In this political climate voters appear more concerned about how Ensign votes than they are about his marital infidelity. Whether that will still be the case two years from now remains to be seen but for now it appears he could be reelected.”

PPP communications director Tom Jensen is a bit more blunt, noting the similarities between Ensign’s political success in Nevada and Sen. David Vitter’s in Louisiana: “Cheating on your wife is a deal breaker for Republican voters- but only if you’re a Democrat.”

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