Beleaguered Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich tops a new CNN poll that names him the “naughtiest politician” in 2008.
Blagojevich, accused of trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat, was arrested this month on federal corruption charges and has been facing record low approval ratings in Illinois for more than two years.
The national poll, conducted by CNN/Opinion Research Corp. and released Wednesday to coincide with Santa’s annual “naughty list,” places former Gov. Eliot Spitzer, D-N.Y., second, followed by former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., who sought the Democratic presidential nomination during the 2008 primary season.
Blagojevich garnered 56 percent of the vote to Spitzer’s 23 percent and Edwards' 19 percent, making him the politician who most “deserved a lump of coal this Christmas,” according to CNN.
Spitzer and Edwards, like Blagojevich, both were involved in scandals in 2008: Spitzer in a call-girl prostitution ring, and Edwards in an extramarital affair with former staffer Rielle Hunter that resulted in accusations he was the father of Hunter's newborn baby.
Spitzer ultimately resigned his office in March, and Edwards finally admitted to the affair in August. For his part, Blagojevich is denying any wrongdoing in the criminal charges he currently faces.
“Americans typically take a much dimmer view of corruption charges than of sex scandals,” explains CNN polling director Keating Holland, “since the former is a violation of the public trust and the latter is usually considered more of a private matter.”
The results of the poll are based on phone interviews with 1,013 Americans between Dec. 19-21 and may be skewed by the fact that Blagojevich’s transgressions occurred more recently than those of Spitzer or Edwards, CNN reports.
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