Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) — yes, that Sen. John Ensign — thinks he can convince the voters of Nevada to grant him another term in office in 2012.
Broke and under investigation for trying to cover up an affair by allegedly funneling contracts to his mistress’ husband, Ensign doesn’t have the kind of resume recruiters generally look for when trying to populate the ballot.
Nevertheless, his staff told the Las Vegas Review-Journal yesterday that the Senator is ready to earn a third term.
“Senator Ensign has been focused on earning back the trust of Nevadans and does plan to run for re-election at this time,” spokesperson Jennifer Cooper told the paper.
Some new numbers from Nevada suggest that as crazy as an Ensign campaign might sound, on paper it might actually make sense.
Democratic pollster PPP tested the Ensign reelect numbers in a Nov. 9 survey. Here’s what they found, from pollster Tom Jensen:
64% of GOP primary voters in Nevada approve of Ensign’s job performance to only 23% who disapprove. He’s particularly strong with conservative voters who give him a 71/16 approval spread.
Even better for Ensign, his base of support is with the conservative wing of the GOP — the same tea party-style Republicans who just helped less-than-ideal candidate Sharron Angle win the GOP nomination against Sen. Harry Reid (D).
Should Ensign survive a primary, he’s not in terrible general election shape either, according to the poll. Of course, the survey was taken months before campaigning would even begin to ramp up and before what will likely be the torrent of ads reminding Nevadans of the skeletons in Ensign’s closet.
Still, Jensen says that it’s too early to count Ensign out. He just might surprise everyone, if PPP’s early polling is any judge.
“I would not take it for granted that Ensign is dead in the water for reelection,” Jensen wrote. “Either in the primary or general.”