In mere weeks, Al Franken’s approval rating among those he represents has dropped 20% and I anticipate it will continue to drop.
According to a recent poll, in fact, only 22% believe that he should remain in office. 33% believe he should resign and 36% are waiting to see what comes of the ethics investigations.
And his overall approval rating… is now at 36%. BOOM! And actually, Steven Schier, a Carleton College Political Scientist, stated that there is no demographic in the poll where any majority says he should stay in office.
But that isn’t getting ol’Al Franken down! NO SIR! In fact, he plans to stay in office and win back the support!
Talking about beating a dead horse!
From his prepared statement:
“I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many.”
“Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that. I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations.”
“I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again. And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.”
Can Franken ride this out? Contrary to everything I’ve just said… probably. People have a limit as to how long it will be before they succumb to outrage exhaustion. If he goes before the Senate Ethics Committee and comes away with a reprimand (or anything short of forcible removal, which his highly unlikely absent some sort of criminal prosecution against him for sexual assault), they may just let it slip down the memory hole and move on to the next battle.
Franken will have an asterisk by his name and can probably forget about ever running for President, but he could easily survive this by keeping his head down and staying out of any additional trouble.
But if there are any more accusers out there and the numbers grow too large, he may have no choice but to abdicate. Will there be? Al Franken has had a long career in television and now in politics. And by his own admission he “hugs” a lot of people. Don’t be too surprised if this isn’t the end of it.