[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.