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

CNN Poll: Americans think Sanford should resign

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/06/26/art.sanford1.cnn.jpg
caption=" 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. 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 |
  2. Bruce

    Kitty June 30th, 2009 4:19 pm ET
    Let me see – democrats polled? LOL – Give me a break – President Clinton was not impeached! Duh!!!


    Uh, you might want to re-check your facts. President Bill Clinton was indeed impeached by the House of Representatives; However, he was not removed from office which can only come from the Senate.

    June 30, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. John

    You can't "refuse to leave office" if you've been impeached. Clinton was impeached by the House, but not by the Senate.

    June 30, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. Suzanne

    I also think that he should resign. But not because he had an affair but because of the way he acted. He left the country for days without informing anybody about his whereabouts or transferring power to his Lt. Gov. in case of an emergency. Such behavior shows a high degree of disregard for his responsibilities and the people of SC. Mark Sanford proved himself as not being trustworthy and responsible.

    June 30, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. lila

    To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.
    William Shakespeare

    Follow your heart, Mark. Set your good wife free. She will be OK. She is a beautiful strong woman in God's grace.
    If you have found your soulmate then run to her and never look back. Be the man you promised you would be... but this time with the woman you truly love. Be a good father and be a good friend to the woman you gave you your children. Be honest, Mark. Be honest.

    June 30, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  6. Doug, New Jersey

    Let's try this again.

    "Fifty-one percent of Democrats and 54 percent of Republicans want Sanford to step down."

    See, republicans have consistant views regardless of ideology, the multipe terms served by Studds and Kennedy after doing much much worse shows that Democrats are dishonest hypcrites guided only by hate and partisanship.

    Love the libs lying below, the facts show that you are the hypocrite, not the fair-minded honest conservatives who go by the act, not the ideology of the person.

    June 30, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Limbaugh is a liberal

    The GOP is still trying to come up with excuses for why they're failing, including finding scapegoats in their own party. The fact is the GOP is not a political underdog because of their moral hypocrisy, but because they are lazy whiners who parrot Rush Limbaugh and have no ideas of their own. Their 'alternate' budget proposal was a 16 page outline with NO NUMBERS! How can you have a budget with no numbers? Their 'alternate' health care plan was a 3 page outline, 80% borrowed from the Obama health care plan, and had no cost estimates. THAT's why nobody listens to them! Because they have nothing to say! No ideas, no plans! Finding scapegoats is not going to help them!

    June 30, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. Kevin Denver Colorado

    Robin: Resign? The hate filled liberals want him shot at sunrise.

    You confuse disgust with hate.......... but you republicans confuse SO MANY THINGS!!!!!!!!!

    June 30, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. James M. Holmes

    I think it is completely hysterical that NOW the NeoCons say things like "You Dems loved Clinton, but now you want Sanford to resign for the same thing – you are all hypocrites!"

    You realize that you all supported impeaching Clinton for an affair and at the time acted like he was Charles Manson... but now it's a Republican and it is all OK cause "Clinton did it too"? LOL...

    I really feel sorry for some of you who think this makes sense...

    Clinton never took off and disappeared for days without telling anyone while on the job and visited his mistress with taxpayer money (on Father's Day no less) and Clinton never preached all "holier than thou" and called for the resignation of others for the same offense...

    ...and if it was impeachable for Clinton to have an affair, then it is should STILL be impeachable now... (I don't think it should be, but that is besides the point)... but you can't have it both ways because of the (R) after their names – that is HYPOCRITICAL!

    June 30, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  10. Joe in CA

    Darn right he should. JOB ABANDONDMENT, plain and simple. We wouldn't get away with it at our job why should ANY of our elected official have different rules for the job WE are paying them to do. All our politicians are a bunch of freeloaders. Wake up America, think about it. We're never going to get good health care reform passed because the elected officials, congress, senators, etc get FREE healthcare, for LOFE. They get a pension after simply being elected, for LIFE. Even if they resign their pension continues. Do WE get the same from our employer? We're lucky if we get a 2-week notice when our job is outsourced, for LIFE. EVERY state needs to get on the ballot that there is NO more free healthcare or lifetime pension, and then raise this to the Federal level. Stop the political WELFARE that is going on this country. It's time for a different type of Boston Tea Party to put these freeloaders in their place once and for all.

    June 30, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Austin

    Too bad this is a national poll.

    June 30, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Peter E

    DId Sanford not learn from history? He and his GOP buddies crucified Bill Clinton with the excuse that he lied under oath... about his personal life that nobody had any business asking about anyway. Now Sanford keeps changing his story, digging himself deeper into the hole. Had he just admitted about his affair, people would be upset, but his office would be safe. But he keeps changing his stories.
    He should have learned from history. He didn't. And those who refuse to learn from history are apparently bound to not just repeat it, but make complete donkeys of themselves!

    June 30, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Doug, New Jersey

    Average Democrat
    "He should resign because he abandoned his post"

    Yet Kennedy shouldn't have resigned for abandoning Mary Jo for dead.

    The average Republicansbelieves the same for everyone regardless of ideology, as the poll shows a majority of republicans want him to step down.

    June 30, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. rob

    don't resign–lets keep core of how many other women you can date before you go .Family Value's _LOL

    June 30, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Kevin Denver Colorado

    Jaime: 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.

    It's NOT YOUR AFFAIR when the retarded GOP is trying to groom him for the presidency!!!!!

    June 30, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Middle man

    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.

    Yep, it's South Carolina's business and nobody else's. If a hurricane should, god forbid, strike Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, etc., don't send federal aid and don't look for the National Guard either. We will survive.

    June 30, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Bill

    As a Christian conservative, I say that this man needs to resign now, the media is already making him the face of the Republican Party. His affair is unacceptable and his blatant lying to his constituents demands his swift resignation. He should resign now, he is a shame to his party and his state.

    June 30, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. JJ

    Well said 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 Sanford. What hypocrites.

    June 30, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  19. James M. Holmes

    I personally want Sanford to saty in office as long as possible...

    Everyday that Sanford and Ensign – two men who said Clinton should resign for an affair but now hypocritically refuse to take their own advice- stay in power... the worse the GOP looks and the more likely that the GOP's "family values" talking points will get nothing but laughter from the American public, from here on out!

    Thanks for once again putting party over country NeoCons – and now the whole country sees it! LOL... Watching the GOP kill litself is actually alot of fun!

    June 30, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  20. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Well, after his latest pronouncements he should resign.

    June 30, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. videodrome

    Sanford was AWOL from his job.
    If this had been any other American being negligent of his/her duties, that person would have been reprimanded or fired.
    Sanford is NOT above other people in this country. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
    Sanford should step down, he deserves his punishment.

    June 30, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  22. Karen

    Stop giving interviews for pete's sake. You can't keep your story straight and else you can't count! There is NO reason to keep dragging this out and hurting your family – those boys have to carry that name for the rest of their lives. Do something to make them proud, like shut up.

    June 30, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Rob

    National Poll? Why are people in Maryland, Washington, and every other state really counted. Shouldn't the people of SC have a say in this more than anyone else?

    June 30, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Bob

    If his wife takes him back she will be no different then the other politician wifes standing by their man like zombies with no brains. So far I give her a lot of credit. So far!

    June 30, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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