June 30th, 2009
03:35 PM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans think Sanford should resign

 A new CNN poll reveals that 54 percent of Americans believe S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford should resign.
A new CNN poll reveals that 54 percent of Americans believe S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford should resign.

(CNN) - A new national poll suggests that a majority of Americans think South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford should resign from office.

Sanford has admitted to a year long extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. Last Wednesday the governor also acknowledged he did not tell his staff that he was in Argentina during a five-day period when his location was not known.

Fifty-four percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday think Sanford should step down, with 44 percent saying he should continue to serve as South Carolina governor. Sanford has a year and a half left in his second term as governor. He's term limited and can't run for re-election.

"There is virtually no difference between Republicans and Democrats on this matter," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Fifty-one percent of Democrats and 54 percent of Republicans want Sanford to step down."

Sanford is now admitting that he met with his mistress more times than he originally admitted, Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer confirmed Tuesday. Last week Sanford said he had seen his mistress three times in the past year. But he told The Associated Press he had met with Maria Belen Chapur seven times, including five visits in the past 12 months.

Despite calls from some South Carolina lawmakers and politicians for the governor to resign, as of Tuesday morning Sanford appeared to be standing firm.

Six out of ten people questioned say it's important for voters to know if a politician has committed adultery, with 37 percent saying such knowledge is not important.

But the poll indicates that the public is split over whether adultery indicates that a person does or does not have the integrity to hold high public office.

"Fifty percent think adultery matters; 49 percent do not," Holland notes. "That's a big change from January of 1999, when three-quarters believed that adultery did not mean a person should not serve in public office. Of course, back then a Democratic president was being impeached in a case that involved an extramarital affair. Today Americans don't have to consider their views of the Clinton impeachment when they think about matters like this.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Friday through Sunday, with 1,026 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.


Filed under: CNN Polls • Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. julia

    What I think you are missing is the real point...the governor is elected to serve the people of SC, NOT himself (or his mistress!) This is his JOB and if you or anyone else were to leave your job for 5 days without telling ANYONE where you were, you would most certainly be FIRED! If anyone needs to grow up, it is the governor. Such selfish and self-serving behavior (forget about the affair...that is truly between him and his wife), to be so irresponsible as to vanish from his JOB for any period of time, is inexcuseable.

    June 30, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Jay

    Gov. Sanford is incredibly delusional, even for a politician. I feel sorry for the citizens of South Carolina.

    June 30, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Patriot

    Of course he should resign. Thinking people in our state of South Carolina know that. If he fails to resign, then there are other remedies that may be pursued in the legislature.

    June 30, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Rick Drew

    As a Rebublican from SC, I say he has to go...and soon.

    June 30, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. DawnL,CA

    Sanford is just going to drag this out for his 18 months then move to Argentina with his tax paid pension. Resign, you idiot-now. What a lot of nerve to keep his state in this turmoil.

    June 30, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Adam

    Kitty June 30th, 2009 4:19 pm ET

    Let me see – democrats polled? LOL – Give me a break – President Clinton was not impeached! Duh!!!
    _____________________________________________________

    Actually Kitty, he was impeached. He just refused to leave office. DUH!!!

    June 30, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. Charlize

    AWOL people are fired anywhere else, even for just being one day absent, let alone five, like this SOB was. Why should this cynic and adulterer politician be treated differently? Is he irreplaceable and a genius? If not, he should be impeached and forced to resign, in case the prick decides to not quit by himself.

    June 30, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Justin

    Well, good for America, too bad that it only matters what SC says.

    June 30, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Give the people what they want

    David, like the GOP, You must be drinking that wine, and I mean the party of whine. Obama shouldn't resign. He is what is helping this country. You might want to stop drinking wine and stick to kool aid man. yeah bro

    June 30, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. James M. Holmes

    As a left leaning independant that has had it with the GOP and their religion fueled hypocracy... I want Sanford to stay in office as long as he can... everyday he is still in power, the more hypocritical the Republicans look to average Americans!

    Sanford & Ensign hurt the GOP everyday they are in office and totally destroy their "family values" talking points!

    These polls do matter, because they also show that most Americans have had it with the hypocracy and shamelessness of the party of "NO"!

    June 30, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Steve (the real one)

    Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx. June 30th, 2009 4:09 pm ET

    Difference between the moral majority, whose members run on a stark platform of family values, and the other party?
    Repubs – ZERO resignations.
    Dems – two resignations.
    Remind me – which party owns up to their failures?
    --------------------------
    Remind me – which party owns up to their failures. Answer neither party, just a few individuals! "Cold cash" Jefferson resign? I think not!
    Bill Clinton resign? I think not!
    "school bus" Nagin resign? I think not! I could go on and one. So, don't sound so cavalier, my friend! Neither party is better than the other! Both contain frauds, cheats, etc!

    June 30, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Richard L

    In the last presidential election, the Republicans ran:

    John McCain, who had an adulterous affair
    Rudy Giuliani, who had an adulterous affair
    and Fred Thompson, who "had" to marry his wife

    They look to Newt Gingrich who had an adulterous affair
    and brag about Ronald Reagan who "had" to marry Nancy.

    That is their idea of "family values".

    June 30, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Steve

    I just want him to shut up and go away! I'm sick of whiny apologies and holier-then-thou lectures about learning from him.

    June 30, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Sharon

    The lack of leadership qualities that encourage sharing a positive vision are too apparent. Step down and do your state and your family a huge favor.

    June 30, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. Marcy Spencer

    Resign. Don't resign. I don't care. South Carolinians can decide. As for those of us in the rest of the country, would I be out of line in saying to the governor "Please just shut up!' His Tuesday comments about his Argentinian lover being his "soulmate" however he assures us he's "trying to fall in love with his wife" were the last straw. If Mrs. Sanford has a a shred of dignity left and if she really cares most about her role i.e. role model to her sons, she'll read that besotted fool's self-absorbed drivel and hightail-it straight to her attorney's office! Better yet, in a fit of turn-the-other-cheek Christian largesse, stop by a local travel agency on the way and buy him a one-way ticket to Argentina! I'll bet the boys would applaud her courage.

    June 30, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. Bob Dog

    Sanford is like a fish flapping around on the dock in the hot sun, clinging to a thread of life. Its all about him. Here is a guy who abandonded his wife and children to cop some nookie. And South Carolinians think he cares about them? What a chump. It will be great fun to watch him flap around for a few more months, before he falls, ungracefully, out of the limelight. I feel bad for his wife, who seems like a woman of character and substance, and his four children, who deserve much better. What a chump.

    June 30, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. Diesel

    The Man used taxpayers dollars to go on a personal trip. He left the peopleof SC without a leader, and had his staff lie about his whereabout......

    If it were you or I that stole money from taxpayers, then left the state, and had other people lie about our location what do you think would happen to us?

    When this story broke one of the bloggers mentioned this is just the tip of the iceburg........I think they were right.
    How much more do you think will come out of this story, and how much do you think he is not going to tell us?

    I just hope the people of SC can see through this guys facade and make him do what is best for the state.

    June 30, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  18. donttreadonme

    Sanford was not AWOL? He notified his team that he would taking time off and would be difficult to contact. Even as Governor you have the right to take time off. There are others appointed leaders in place and in Command during his absence.

    June 30, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  19. Jamie

    So glad that "Americans" think that Gov Sanford should resign, when really, its only "South Carolinian's" opinion who really matters. Stay out of my states affairs.

    June 30, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  20. Max

    Hey "Kitty",
    have you seen the video where Sanford, back in the Clinton scandal days,
    said how Clinton should be out of office and how cheating was good reason enough for clinton to step down?

    In my view its bad when anyone do it, but im open to the idea someone can still run even if he cheated.

    *BUT*, if sanford said in the clinton days that the cheating, in his view, is good enough reason for clinton to step down – in his OWN view – what i see is someone who is hypocryte, and since this time it is him who has cheated, it shouldnt count.

    So for me, he should step down, because in his own view, someone who cheats should step down.

    If he cant even apply his own convictions consistently, then his convictions are just bullcrop. It just serves him when it serves him, and its out the window when it gets in his way.

    Anyone else?

    June 30, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. Greg, PA

    "He's term limited and can't run for re-election."

    Talk about lazy writing. "Term limit" is a noun, not a verb. I'm certainly not perfect, but can't we expect more from a news source?

    June 30, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  22. lila

    Mark needs to be honest with his heart. He no longer loves his wife and his political career is over. The worst that could happen has happened. The best choice at this point is to his own self be true. It will only be a true love story if love wins.
    His wife will be fine. Set her free to find love and joy in this world, Mark. It's over.

    June 30, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  23. Respect

    What about the debt he is leaving for my children?

    June 30, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Bill, Bloominton IL

    Billie: Name one democrat that was tossed out for lying.

    June 30, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Cher

    To Lynn, I think you are confused. If you can read, you can see that most posters belief that Sanford should resign because of his disappearance from his job with no way to contact him, not because of his affair. Interestingly, you have named Democrats with relationship issues, but no republicans (of which there are manay examples current and future, i.e., Ensign, Vitter, Craig, Foley, Gingrich, Guliani, McCain, etc.). Also,I am aware that Jesse Jackson senior had an affair, but I am not aware of any such accusations related to Jesse Jackson, jr. Please get your facts straight on this.

    June 30, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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