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. Melanie, Dallas

    YES Mr. Sanford should step down, not for being a lieing cheating husband, but because he is the governor and left his state without telling anyone. I'm sure the good state of South Carolina could find someone who is looking out for the poeple of South Carolina, instead of Mark Sanford who is "all" about himself...

    June 30, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. The Closet Republican

    This scumbag would not have admitted a thing had he not been caught with his pants down.

    June 30, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. old white lady

    Sanford needs to ounderstand that the resignation issue is NOT about sex, or God. It is about the fact that he abandoned his duties as an elected officer of the state of South Carolina. The fact that he does not understand the seriousness of this issue, and confuses it with his religious beliefs, is all the more reason for him to resign, or be impeached.

    June 30, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. Jim in San Jose 2

    While I am a Democrat, i don't think Sanford should have to quit over the affair. If, and only if, it's discovered that he mis-used state funds or abused his power in some way, then he should consider resigning.

    With that said, leaving the country and not telling anyone about it is a serious charge, and he should be censured for it, and perhaps fined. He should'nt just be able to walk away from it scot free...

    June 30, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Bubba

    Robin, the hate-filled conservatives want him as president. I'm in the middle, as usual, with most of America: As soon as he quits and becomes a private citizen, we may apply the old reliable rubric of "Let he who is without sin among you throw the first stone(That would be me, but I'm also not interested in getting him stoned)." While he's governor, though, he can be treated the way you hate-filled, way-out, unChristian, wife-beating conservatives treat our president, namely call him every name in the book and if he denies anything he's a dirty liar. Fly south, Robin, and build a nest.
    Matthew/Detroit, I'm guessing you voted for Sarah Palin, right? I'd like to see a picture of Obama ramming his cap down your throat, and I bet half the people on this page agree. Stay on topic, fool.

    June 30, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Hope

    Why are they polling people that do NOT live in SC. This is a SC issue, not a National Issue. People who do not live in the state of SC stay out of our business.
    I live in the GREAT state of South Carolina. I was not polled! Who ever designs these polls, should ask the people of SC!

    June 30, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Oh GIve Me A Break

    Oh would he please go away. Go back to South America and when you're broke, your jump off will send you back with your tail between your legs. CNN, can we get some new news up in here please? I'm begging! If I hear one more story on this loser I will puke!

    June 30, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Bill Sampson

    Why is the whole nation being polled about South Carolina's dopey governor?

    Actually, I say please, Mark, stay. Let's see your whole Jesus dog and pony show unfold. You know you can do it! A full scale state wide tent revival, maybe. Handle some snakes. Get a message from God regarding your ability to lead the state from darkness. Defend traditional marriage. Stone some witches, maybe even some of those who tempted you into their beds of sin! Get the whole religious circus going. I want to see it.

    June 30, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  9. Ken

    Ah yes we have the right wing apologists who point at Clinton or some other Dem and screech "They did it too!" So that absolves them of any accountability.

    Look here wingtards if you grabbed your pitchfork and torches when it was a Dem, but won't do the same when one of your own does it, what does that make you?

    Give up?

    It makes you a hypocrite.

    June 30, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. rt

    According to his interview with AP he admits he has been tempted many times, by many women, on many overseas trips. Please – would he just shut up... we don't care... and he keeps making himself look foolish. Why would we believe that you only had one affair if you traveled several times out of the country to meet women? Why would his wife take him back if he keeps admitting to be tempted by many woman? Why...why...why and who cares????

    June 30, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. FLgirlinSC

    I really don't understand what is so complicated about this... The governor should resign... The thought of leaving your family on Father's Day, the great state of SC without a leader, committing adultery with little remorse, is reason enough to prove these past few months have been too much for this guy... Not leader material AT ALL.... Sorry Mark, you had me believin'....

    June 30, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Bleeding Heart

    Well the pollsters didn't ask ME!! And I say he should resign!

    June 30, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. Alexis

    I completely agree with Jim from Mateo. He should be punished for not coming to work after five days and not informing his staff of his whereabout not his affair. That situation is between Governor Sanford and his wife.

    His wife should leave him and become the new Bachelorette on ABC.

    June 30, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Slappy White

    The guy was basically living in his governor's SUV since his wife (rightfully) threw him out of the house.

    He's not a governor, he's a laughingstock.

    June 30, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. robert allen

    Its time to pack bags/go on a fishing trip/check on the farm
    get away from the wolfs following you.

    June 30, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. Voter

    This should be a lesson to all Americans that the preoccupation with sex scandals is no more than lazy journalism at its worst. While a member of Congress, Sanford was among those looking for Bill Clinton's head.

    Then we learned about Henry Hyde, Livingston and a host of others who had unremarkable dalliances along the way, and of course, now here's Sanford a week after Sen. Ensign.

    These relationships are simply none of our business. What do you think America's 50%+ divorce is all about after all? It's about this.

    People should mind their own business, which is frequently at least as sordid, and stick to the real measure that should concern us: Are they doing their job?

    Nine times out of ten, the answer is YES. So get out of the gutter, people, and pay attention to something that counts.

    June 30, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Ann

    stupid Americans..if he is doing a good job as governor, who cares about his personal life? Plus, SC people should decide.. not all Americans

    June 30, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. Richard L

    Add Mark Sanford's name to the long list of Republican hypocrites that complained about Bill Clinton's affair and yet had their own extra-marital affairs:

    Newt Gingrich (GA-Rep,Speaker of the House)
    Larry Craig (ID-Sen),
    Tom Delay (TX-Rep, Majority Leader),
    Henry Hyde (IL-Rep, House Judiciary Chairman),
    John Ensign (NV-Rep),
    Robert Livingston (LA-Rep)
    Rudy Giuliani (mayor of New York city),
    John McCain (AZ-Sen),
    David Vitter (LA-Sen)

    So much for the "family values"/"moral majority" party.

    June 30, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Steve J, Michigan

    Its funny now he's coming clean about other women he's meet too..I'm sure its just going to get worse before it gets better. Politicians love that power.

    Steve-Michigan

    June 30, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. Jeff

    Hmmm lets see, Jefferson is found with thousands in his freezer and didnt resign, Rangel is a tax cheat and didnt resign, Geitner – tax cheat didnt resign, Pelosi lied to America about her knowledge of enhanced interrogations – didnt resign, Edwards has an affair and fathers a child while running for POTUS, barely covered, Obama smoked pot, snorted coke, pals with a domestic terrorist and a anti-semetic black power reverend and becomes POTUS, Murtha calls our troops murderers and has very suspicious ties to payback scandals and directs millions to the John Murtha airport that is barely used – doesnt resign yet libs want to crucify Sanform. What hypocrites.

    June 30, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Ken

    @JJ

    Stop lying, there is no EPA report. It is a an opinion written by a right wing EPA economist with no training in science. You'd know that if you weren't just continously parroting wingtard talking points.

    June 30, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Alan in Berkeley

    I guess we know how Sanford will spend the fourth of July - by himself, lighting off "argentine firecrackers" (in his memory). Sad.

    June 30, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  23. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Perhaps he should. BUT only for one of these reasons.
    1) he said Clinton should resign
    2) he left the state of South Carolina without an official leader when he snuck off to climb his Argentenian Tail

    The fact that he had an affair shouldn't make him resign. Unless, of course, he ran on a strong moral platform and is now a self-absorbed hypocrite.

    Otherwise, he should remain and then go off to oblivion once his time is up.

    June 30, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. George

    P.J. You sound jealous! They all do it. Dems and Republicans. Say it.
    "they all do it". Now move on, help get us going in the right direction.
    No one party can do that. It takes both.

    June 30, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Maxine Keith

    Mark Sanford is not the first one to make a mystake, and he will not be the last one. Well President Clinton came out smelling like a rose so why is Mark Sanford any different. He has ask forgiveness and God has forgiven him and please let go. I say we keep him as our Governer of SC. Pray for him and his family.

    June 30, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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