Thursday, January 14, 2010

John Ensign Poll

John Ensign's not very popular, but if the current political climate persists in 2012 he might be able to get reelected anyway.

Ensign's approval rating is just 38% with 44% of voters in the state disapproving of him. Yet at the same time he leads three potential Democratic opponents for reelection by margins of 2-11 points. It's 43-41 against Oscar Goodman, 49-40 against Shelley Berkley, and 47-36 against Ross Miller.

Those numbers say a lot about the priorities of voters in Nevada right now- they might not like Ensign on a personal level but having soured on Barack Obama and particularly the Democratic health care bill they're willing to put that aside to have an opposition voice in Washington.

This fact is perhaps best captured by Ensign's standing with independents. His approval with them breaks down at a negative 37/43 yet he holds leads of 13-34 points in the horse race with them. Those voters don't like Ensign but at this point they like national Democrats even less.

That's not to say Ensign's position is without peril. His numbers against the Democrats are very similar to those of Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian and you would usually expect a two term Senator to be in a much stronger position than a couple of relatively unknown candidates. And these numbers come at a time when Republican fortunes are at their peak- if Nevada's back to being as in Democratic a mood by 2012 as it was in 2008 Ensign would likely be in big trouble. But given what Ensign's been through over the last year these numbers are surprisingly good, and an indication that he's not DOA for reelection.

Full results here

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