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. will

    I just love the fact that the republicans are coming to the defense of Sanford. If it was a democrat, they would consider this an outrage. Much like the TARP money they keep saying the Obama Administration requested, but they forget it was Bush's Administration who requested the money with a 3 page memo which had in it a clause saying they could not be sued. Republicans need to quit talking about of both sides of the faces.

    June 30, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Karen - Missouri

    It's pretty obvious by his lies, this man has NO business in politics or handling ANY money! Get that sleeze out of office!

    June 30, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. J.P.

    Hey! Good news! Just found out the MN SC has given MN's Senate seat to Stewart Smalley, giving Democrats a 60-vote, filibuster proof majority.

    Let us look back to the last time Democrats had a filibuster-proof majority, shall we? It was 1977-1979. Democrats controlled 62 seats, I believe. And the result?

    Double-digit unemployment
    Double-digit inflation
    Double-digit interest rates over 20%
    Highest tax rates in recent memory
    Misery index
    Decimation of armed forces
    One asinine economic policy decision after another

    Folks, we have seen this movie before. And it does not end well. The fact we have flashier, slicker marketing and a better packaging of a handsome actor playing the role of Jimmy Carter does not mean this will turn out any differently.

    June 30, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Cnn please post my thoughts! 1 love!

    Jim June 30th, 2009 3:47 pm ET

    The democrats are far worse than any Republican.

    No commenter here can argue against that fact.

    Yeah you probably right, but the hypocrisy and deceit of the Republicans which Americans loathe is simply unmatched!

    June 30, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Charles

    Gee.. cannot believe so many idiots.. I don't care about his personal affairs. But he is the head of SC and disappeared for one week without telling anyone. Can you image if there was any emergency happened in SC during that week? He is a elected government public worker not a person in the private sector. He needs to follow SC constitution and law.

    June 30, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  6. will

    I guess since Sanford's wife had kicked him out of the house. Sanford could sneak off and see his mistress without having to go home. But, he got caught because one person asked "Where's the governor?". If i worked for the govenor as an employee, I would have been asked to leave the same day.

    June 30, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. HD

    Ok, he was caught cheating on his wife. He left is sons alone on fathers day to play with the girlfriend. Then the apology and let move on speach. But now he just keeps getting caught with more lies. Every day a new story. This guy is not fit to represent SC. He needs to go.

    June 30, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. single mom

    Actually, I think any politicians caught up in ANY scandal should resign. That would give us how many left in Congress? Maybe a dozen in each chamber? Something might actually get accomplished.

    June 30, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Bethie in TX

    I agree! He can no longer govern effectively. He has to deal with the consequences of his poor choices.

    June 30, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Tundr

    It is not about what President Clnton did. Mark Sanford was one who voted to impeach Pres. Clinton and thought he should resign.

    Now that he has committed the same sin – he should follow his own advice and resign.

    Remember he suggested the punishment.

    June 30, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Kevin in Ohio

    @Melissa June 30th, 2009 3:52 pm ET

    Yes, he should resign. But he won't. Because he's a Republican. They think that so long as its THEM doing the nasty morally reprehensible things, including going AWOL, there's nothing wrong with it because all they have to say is that their god told them to do it

    Get a clue, Melissa. We are still waiting for Jefferson to resign after a load of cash was found in his freezer. And Clinton never resigned either after lying to a grand jury in his own sexual harrassment case. This crosses party lines. Sanford should resign...not because he had an affair but because he was AWOL. If he doesn't it has nothing to do with his party affilliation. Of course, mean-spirited hate-mongering lefties see things differently I guess.

    June 30, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Kitty

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

    June 30, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. donttreadonme

    PJ June 30th, 2009 3:50 pm ET
    Yeah, right! He's in line to resign right after Marion Barry (drugs), Barney Frank (prostitution), Ted Kennedy (manslaughter, drunk driving), Bill Clinton (perjury) and a host of other democrats. Gimme a break! What he did was stupid, and immoral; not illegal.
    The only votes or opinions that matter are of the people of SC. Not a CNN poll.

    JP Good points! Clinton had an affair with a young intern and then lied in court... everyone knew about JFK and they both are lib heroes think about it?

    June 30, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. single mom

    Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx. – A couple more for your list –
    Bob Livingstone – for something that had happened 25+ years ago – resigned
    Bill Clinton – for something that had happened repeatedly for 25+ years – nothing

    June 30, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Donna Mansfield

    He definitely should resign. He's given the Republicans ANOTHER black eye!!!!!!!

    June 30, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Sue, Vienna, VA

    What don't many of you people understand?! This is NOT about who's naughtier, Democrats or Republicans, or even about the fact that he cheated on his wife. While I personally think he's a slime for doing so and then giving an 18 minute repentant speech, I am much more concerned that he lies and continues to humiliate his wife and children, while spewing off about moral values AND left his office of Governor without advising either family or staff!! Is he so lovesick that he lost his mind?! This moronic behavior is hardly befitting a governor – or any other politician for that matter. It looks to me like they need to understand that there's no special dispensation for being a politician.

    June 30, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    The fact that he didn't want to spend Father's day with his sons speaks volumes!

    June 30, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. ken

    the conservatives preach at all times "MORALITY"...i am totally appalled with respect to the govenor's behaviour..family values is considered to be the most important issue at present in this country..a person in such a distinguished office should have the dignity...pride..integrity ...of leading a state with established values and sincerity..he should definitely resign and seek help!

    June 30, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Moderate Democrat

    Hey JP, it was preceded by a HELL of a long time of Republican majority screwing up the nation. It took the Democrat control to get it back in order. You can delusionally refute that all you want, but it's still true.

    June 30, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  20. J Johnson

    If the totality of the governor's actions are not reason enough for his title as governor to be relinguished, then the people of SC are some of the most tolerant, ignorant, or apathetic people in the world. Sanford has shown himself to be an adulterer, liar, hypocrite, and a derelict. Does a republican governor in SC have to kill someone to be removed from office?

    June 30, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. D-Nice

    Re: J.P.

    The "stagflation" economy of the 1970s started under Nixon, continued through the Ford administration and landed in Carter's lap.

    June 30, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. TCM

    The majority of Americans, especially those with a job, and have always paid taxes to support the slackers, feel Obama should resign as well.

    June 30, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. post my comment

    OMG. Republicans! Why is this so hard to get through your heads? He's a hypocrite because he has all this time professed to be better than dirty democrats that mis-behaved and he's NOT! He's as filthy as any one of them. On top of it he lies about who he is! That's why he's worse! He should resign because he abandoned his post and stole taxpayer dollars to do it. What is so unclear about that?

    June 30, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. 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.

    This whole AWOL thing was made up.

    June 30, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Did Clinton go to another CONTINENT for 5 days without telling his staff and lie about his whereabouts?


    Did Sanford?


    That's the issue. Not the cheating.

    Get a clue Sanford apologists!

    June 30, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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