Sen. Al Franken, now facing accusations of inappropriate touching from four women, is vowing to regain Minnesotans' trust.
But recent looks at his standing among both Americans and the state's voters – the latter of which have twice elected the DFLer to the U.S. Senate – suggest doing so will be a difficult climb, if not impossible.
Let's break down the recent developments.
Franken's latest apology – and commitment
In a statement to the Star Tribune on Thanksgiving, Franken said he's "sorry" for "putting [Minnesotans] through this," describing himself as a "warm person" that likes to "hug people."
But he's realized that – during the course of these thousands and thousands of photos with people over the years – he "crossed a line for some women," his statement continued.
"I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry," he said in part, according to the paper, adding he's "committed to regaining [Minnesotans'] trust.”
Two more women say Franken grabbed them
This apology came after two more women came forward to Huffington Post with inappropriate touching stories Wednesday.
One said Franken cupped her butt during a 2007 photo op after a choir performance at a political event; the other said he grabbed her butt at an '08 Democratic fundraiser in Minneapolis, then suggested they go to the bathroom together.
Franken categorically denied the bathroom invite piece to Huffington Post.
Stories have dripped out since radio host Leeann Tweeden published her account on Nov. 16. Four days after that, Lindsay Menz said Franken grabbed her butt while they took a photo together at the 2010 Minnesota State Fair.
The number of women publicly accusing Franken of this type of behavior is now up to four.
How far Franken has fallen?
Franken was generally in good standing with Minnesotans.
In Morning Consult's October look at the most and least popular senators, 55 percent of registered Minnesota voters approved of how Franken was doing, tied for the 11th highest rating overall. (32 percent disapproved, basically middle of the pack.)
The groping stories have damaged it considerably.
A KSTP/SurveyUSA poll done Nov. 20-21 – so the day of, and day after, Menz's State Fair accusation surfaced – found his approval rating had sunk to 36 percent.
And 33 percent of the Minnesota voters surveyed said he should resign, while 36 percent wanted to wait until the completion of an ethics investigation.
There are about 3,287,804 registered voters in the state. If we expand the survey to cover all of them, it would mean – at minimum – 1,095,923 believe Franken should go. He won re-election in 2014 with fewer votes than that.
And that's not counting the undecideds.
The KSTP/SurveyUSA poll also found 22 percent said Franken should stay in office.
The drop has happened nationally as well
A Politico/Morning Consult poll done Nov. 16-19 – so with only Tweeden's story out there – found 50 percent of registered voters (not just in Minnesota) think Franken should resign.
About one in five – 22 percent – said he shouldn't.
Politico also notes the calls for his resignation are close across party lines:
- 49 percent of Democrats
- 56 percent of Republicans
- 44 percent of Independents