Brief of the Week June 29, 2009

ENSIGN DOWN, BUT AHEAD OF REID: After a week of media frenzy over his admission of an affair with a former campaign staffer, Sen. John Ensign (R.-Nev.) has suffered among the voters but is still more popular than his liberal Democratic colleague, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. A just-completed Mason-Dixon poll shows that Ensign is now viewed favorably by 39% of Nevada voters and unfavorably by 37% — a significant change from May, when Mason Dixon showed the two-term Republican’s favorable-unfavorable ratio at 53% to 18%. But the most recent survey also showed that only 34% rate the performance of Reid favorably and 46% view the four-term senator unfavorably. When asked whether Ensign (who is not up for re-election until 2012) should resign his seat, only 29% of state voters say he should and 62% said he should not. Reid is up for re-election next year and is expected to face a stiff Republican challenger. Among those mentioned as possible opponents to the majority leader are Rep. Dean Heller and Henrietta Fore, businesswoman and former U.S. treasurer.