You Can't Keep Bob Menendez Down

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 24 2013 5:43 PM

You Can't Keep Bob Menendez Down

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WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18: U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) speaks during a news conference on immigration reform April 18, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The senator discussed on the 'Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act' that have been released on Wednesday. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Perhaps I write about this senator and this story too much, because I predicted the outcome when the acceptable DC chatter was pushing everyone in the opposite direction. Well, whatever. A new Quinnipiac poll has New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez bouncing back to a net 12-point approval rating, having endured a sex scandal that fell apart and a New York Times editorial denouncing him as unfit to lead the Foreign Relations Committee.

Slate's Emma Roller brings along the chart. Basically, before the office of Menendez's donor/friend/Marlon-Brando impersonator-in-a-pinch Salomon Melgen was raided by the FBI, the senator enjoyed an approval rating slightly above 50 percent. After the raid, he collapsed. Since the raid, his negatives have fallen to pre-scandal levels.

Screen shot 2013-04-24 at 5.58.46 PM

This, however, is the poll's lede—and how it was excerpted by the National Republican Senatorial Committee:

TRENTON, N.J. - Most registered voters in New Jersey surveyed support investigating U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez's ties to a political donor.
Forty-eight percent in a Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday think the issue is worth investigating compared to 32 percent who believe it's politically motivated.
...Voters say 39 to 32 percent that Menendez is honest and trustworthy...

Sure, he's got the financial scandal to worry about. But we saw this coming—the much-more-interesting sex scandal got the headlines, and when it crumpled, interest in the less-flimsy questions about Menendez's possible boosterism for his donor friend faded away.

Correction, April 24, 2013: This post originally misspelled Salomon Melgen's first name.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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