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. dominican mama 4 Obama

    Duuuh, ya' think?

    June 30, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Ellie, MD

    YES, I'm one of those polled who think this man should have RESIGNED a week ago.

    Sanford continues to LIE and COVER UP his hypocrisy and incompetence. Mark Sanford should be FIRED immediately.

    June 30, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. Molly, CA


    June 30, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Dave

    Does it matter what "Americans" want? No, it only matters about South Carolina. If these polls actually meant something, then we wouldn't passed the Stimulus, the Cap & Trade (in the house), the Tarps or be pursuing socialized medicine....

    June 30, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Jim in San Mateo

    Adultery isn't the point here. The point is that he left the State of South Carolina without a Chief Executive for five days and then tried to cover it up. That's the point and that's the reason he should resign. What he did while he was away is between his wife and himself.

    June 30, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. inat

    well fortunately for teh governor, he need only report to those in his state. who cares what the rest of the country thinks?

    June 30, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. changing my screen name to see if it helps getting my comments posted

    Um...I think the opinions of the South Carolina voters is more important than what the average average American thinks. If they want him to not resign then who are we to say he should resign?

    June 30, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Lonnie, NC

    Don't worry Mark, Jenny is doing her best to see that your boys can hold their heads up high. Maybe someday they will run for office and live up to the standards that you could only talk about.

    June 30, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. SC attorney/native

    Governor Sanford may have made some personal mistakes, but it has not effected his ability to govern. I stand by him. Those who judge him know neither Sanford nor the wolves chomping at the bit to get him out.

    June 30, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Vic in VA

    The affair is not the reason why Sanford should resign. He should resign for derelection of duty in being MIA for days and for using taxpayer dollars to see his mistress–it doesn't matter if he plans to pay the money back. If he had never been caught, would he still return the funds? Doubtful.

    June 30, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Brian Hill

    Well when slick willy did it, it was okay to the dems, now that it is a member of the gop it is a horrible thing. Thank god the liberal one way media.

    June 30, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Mike

    The people of S.C. should decide if he stay's or resigns. They elected him, thye should make that decission. Besides, according to Rush it's becuase of Obama that this happened. How can you argue with that kind of logic?

    June 30, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. DS

    Erratic behavior and lying are the public policy issues here. He has to live with himself and deal with his family about the adultery, not us.

    June 30, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. pbd

    What non-SC residents think is irrelevant. I think he should resign, but s what - I'm up here in New England. What happens to him politically is between him and the voters of SC.

    June 30, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Elaine Bergstrom

    Gov. Sanford is going to be run out of office, while GOP Mayor Rudy Giulliani has multiple affairs while in office, and made a run for the presidency. Gee, Gov. Sanford, maybe you should have had your political aspirations in a more liberal state.

    June 30, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. MatthewDetroit

    Please stop all the crap about Sanford. He should resign Period.
    Now lets move onto our socialist president ramming cap and trade down our throats.
    He is completely Anti American. He wants All of America to suffer. He thinks it is wrong that we live how we live.
    HE would love the US to be broke (as he spends us into the ground) make us depend on the goverment and build a large welfare state.
    He is pushing us into the stone age.
    Cap and Trade will only tax all of us and rais the costs of goods for all americans. This is a bad idea and should be stopped now.

    June 30, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. Really?

    L I A R...stilling lying about how many times he meet with his homewrecker.

    June 30, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  18. Lil' Red

    Mark Sanford is a pathetic hypocrite and an embarrassment to my state of South Carolina. He should resign immediately.

    June 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Squigman

    Please Note:

    The headline reads, Americans Think Sanford, Should Resign. Not Democrats, Say Sanford Should Resign. I'm sure there are a few who believe that if you're not a republican, you're not an American, but this is just not true. This was a lie told by, and spread by the likes of George Bush, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Three people who have the same dignity and morals as Sanford..

    June 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Former Republican firmly supporting Obama

    Sanford should go NOT for having an affair, but he should resign for violating the trust of citizens in South Carolina and for being a hypocrite. Based on comments he made during the Clinton impeachment, Sanford should follow his own standard.

    June 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Jo

    Resign with respect for your family and not your lover. You are a shame and disgrace to South Carolina Mark.

    June 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. wakeupamerica

    He left the state vulnerable all because he couldn't keep it in his pants. He needs to resign. I bet he's blessing the coverage of Michael Jackson for keeping him off the news for a bit. These politicians, especially GOPs, need to think with their brain first, not with other body parts. I applaud his wife for giving him what's for and not sugarcoating her comments to or about him. He is scum.

    June 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Nick the Photographer

    Nah nah nah nah...
    Hey, hey, hey...


    June 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. Robin

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

    June 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  25. Jamie

    Sanford says he's "trying to fall in love with his wife again." Run, Jenny! Run like the wind. This loser doesn't deserve you.

    Of course he should resign. He's not capable of making rational, responsible decisions.

    June 30, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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