New polling indicates Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota has taken a drastic hit in approval among his constituents after two women accused him of sexual harassment.
On Nov. 22, a KSTP/SurveyUSA poll found that only 36 percent of Minnesota residents approved of Franken, marking a dramatic downturn in support for the senator. In November 2016, the same survey found that 53 percent of Minnesotans approved of Franken, KSTP reports.
On Nov. 16, radio broadcaster Leeann Tweeden alleged that Franken had groped and kissed her without consent during a USO Tour in December 2006. Tweeden said Franken had kissed her forcefully during a comedy skit. She also shared a photograph of Franken appearing to grope her breasts while she was sleeping.
"I couldn't believe it," Tweeden wrote in an editorial for KABC. "He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep ... How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it's funny?"
Franken issued an apology to Tweeden and requested that he be investigated by the Senate Ethics Committee.
"The first thing I want to do is apologize: to Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women," Franken said, according to Politico.
On Nov. 20, Lindsay Menz alleged that Franken had groped her while they posed for a photograph at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.
Menz told CNN that Franken "pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear ... He totally grabbed my butt."
Franken responded to the allegation by stating, "I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected."
The survey found that Minnesotans were split about Franken's future in the Senate. Of those polled, 22 percent wanted the Democrat to remain in office, 33 percent wanted him to resign immediately and 36 percent said he should wait for the results of his ethics investigation before making a decision.
The poll also found 32 percent of respondents thought Franken would remain an effective senator if he stayed in the chamber while 37 percent believed he would no longer be effective. Thirty-two percent were undecided.
On Nov. 20, the New York Post alleged Franken had groped media titan Arianna Huffington during a photo shoot in 2000. On Nov. 21, Huffington blasted the report on social media and asserted that the alleged groping was staged as political commentary, according to HuffPost.
"I think I'm a better judge of how I felt in that satirical photo shoot with Al Franken than the recollections of an anonymous bystander," Huffington tweeted.