Amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, the state’s junior senator announced in early December that he would step down “in the coming weeks.” But a Public Policy Polling survey released on Thursday reveals that his constituents don’t want him to go: 50 percent say he shouldn’t resign, compared to 42 percent who say he should. He remains popular not only with Democrats, but independents, who are split 52-41 percent in favor of not resigning. Franken also has the support of 57 percent of women.
These numbers are extremely high, especially for a public figure facing more than half a dozen allegations of groping women. And they align with the opinion of some liberals, including a few prominent Democrats, who say he’s being forced out of the Senate unfairly.
“Due process means a fair, full investigation, with a chance for the accused to respond,” Zephyr Teachout, who ran against Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York, wrote in The New York Times earlier this month. “And proportionality means that while all forms of inappropriate sexual behavior should be addressed, the response should be based on the nature of the transgressions. Both were missing in the hasty call for Senator Franken’s resignation.” Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Leahy have both said Franken should undergo an ethics investigation rather than resign.
Nonetheless, Franken apparently isn’t wavering on his plans to quit. In an emotional speech to supporters in Minnesota on Thursday, he said, “I may be leaving the Senate but I’m not giving up my voice.”