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. D-Nice

    Ha! More Republicans than Democrats think he should step down.

    I guess this means we won't be hearing anymore "B... b... but, Clinton..." from the Republican apologists, right?

    Of course not.

    Even though more of their own think he should resign, they'll still turn this into a partisan who-did-what. Yes, we know Ted Kennedy was in a deadly car accident 40 years ago. Let's stick with the here and now and preferably the stances, not the personal lives, of our politicians.

    June 30, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. R Wolf

    This man is a whining, holier than thou hypocrite. He professes his
    God fearing values, denegrates any one who doesn't live up to his 'so
    called' christian standards, and then does as he pleases. His tears are pitiful and his apology worthless. His sons deserve better, as does his state. He's a liar, a cheat and should not put his state in this position. Show some backbone and resign.

    June 30, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. Grin and Bare It

    The rest of America should stay out of South Carolina's business. As for the polls, lets not forget a certain President "Bill Clinton" who was able to stay in office after he disgraced the White house with Monica. If Sanford steps down or is made to leave office, it should be for using State Funds and vehicles while having the affair.

    June 30, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. S M R

    Yes he should resign.If I remember right, Sanford was one of the linchmen to push for Clintons impeachment. That involvement in the impeachment process was his feelings at the time, So does this make him a FLIP FLOPPER ?

    June 30, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. P-51 Driver

    He is a bottom feeder....He just admited to other affairs...GO SANFORD...

    June 30, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. mel

    I feel kind of sorry for the guy, who is obviously in a lovesick, head-over-heels, unstable condition. It reminds me of "The Sorrows of Young Werther" or some other Romantic era novel. Unfortunately, going AWOL on the job and leaving the country while telling your staff you are out hiking is absolutely grounds for being fired, for pretty much any position. Certainly for governor.

    He's also a hypocrite, given that he wanted Bill Clinton impeached for really quite similar behavior. As for his self-comparisons to King David, Sanford should be reminded that God's punishment of David for his transgressions with Bathsheba was to be in a constant state of war against enemies for the rest of his life. South Carolina could do without that, I'm sure.

    June 30, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Joe cotton

    News Flash!!! Gov. Stanford of that loser state should start his new career as a chicken farmer due to AMERICA'S CHICKENS COMING HOME TO ROOST! Sen Graham needs to resign and join Stanford too...

    June 30, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Nutmegger

    Time to go, "Randy Sandy."

    Despite my nickname for Mark Sanford, my opinion that he should resign is not primarily based on the adultery. Rather, it's based on his irresponsible behavior in leaving the state without word to his family and staff . And the lying. And using taxpayer money to visit his lady friend.

    Now we're learning that he has visited Maria more often than he originally disclosed. What else has he been lying about to his family, friends, colleagues and SC's citizens?

    And I'm willing to bet that Gov. Sanford would not have offered to reimburse SC for the $12,000 cost of his summer 2008 trip if his adventures in Argentina had not been discovered.

    He's an opportunistic hypocrite. Bring out the hook.

    June 30, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Billie

    Are you kidding me? There is a HUGE difference between Democrats & Republicans on this issue. Repubs will go after an unfaithful Dem until he/she is drummed out of office -no forgiveness for anyone whose political views differ from the Right. Oh, but if a Repub gets caught lying, as is the case with Sanford (or Rumsfeld, or Rice, or Cheney, or GWB), lying over and over again, as long as he invokes the name of "GOD", he's okay. Let him serve out the remainder of his term. What a crock, how hypocritical. Double-standard. Shame on you all.

    June 30, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  10. probama in paradise

    I think he should resign–not so much because of the affair–but because he was AWOL from office and spending public money to go on a trip to Argentina.

    As a public school administrator, were I to abandon my school for a week without anyone knowing where I was–after dipping into my discretionary fund for a Carribean cruise–imagine the fallout! He's just using the adultery to distract the misuse of public funds.

    June 30, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  11. LacrosseMom

    Of course! At the very least, he should be FIRED like we all would be if we were AWOL from our jobs!

    What's with the South Carolina legislature? Clinton was impeached for lying about "that woman" ! Its not just the adultery its not doing your job.

    June 30, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. Kevin

    This is a useless poll. The opinion of Americans do not matter. It is entirely up to the citizens of SC to make this call. While his behavior is disgusting, it is a personal matter. The issue for the voters of SC is whether his temporary abdonment of his office warrants his removal. I know how I would vote but I don't live in SC.

    June 30, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. Lee in Ohio

    Mr. Sanford's latest remarks make it clear that he is little more than a self-absorbed, deluded hypocrite. The good people of the state of South Carolina need to give him the bum's rush. And they need to do it soon.

    June 30, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  14. cat covell

    Sanford is such an idiot on so many levels – example: refusing stimulus money, thinking he could disappear for days without notice – the citizens of the state really ought to take the golden opportunity to get rid of him.

    June 30, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. diane

    Absent some legal misconduct, I don't see any grounds for throwing him out of office but he is obviously not thinking about his sons and the media circus that this admission is creating. And if he has any hopes of reconciling with the wife (and I am not sure that he does), this constant drip drip of details and the constant scrutiny is making a stressful situation even worse.

    If it were just about him, I'd gladly want him to his licks since he was so self-righteous about other politicians who strayed. But his wife and kids don't deserve this. So yeah he should do the DECENT thing and resign. But if he was a decent guy to to begin with he wouldn't be in this situation, would he?

    June 30, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Mary

    Please Mr. Sanford; have some compassion for your wife and children. Resign and stop the embarassment you are causing her and her family. You sir are a disgrace.

    June 30, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Banks from NC

    WOW!! Look at this guy, I really would like to know how this lady look. She must be gorgeous something for Mr. Governor to leave the states and go to Argentina and see her then trash his whole career. Everybody wants to be a playa.

    June 30, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. Shari, NY

    It is time for the saga to end. There needs to be a referendum on whether he goes or stays. He has now come out a confessed that he had more meetings with the woman than first divulged. What next, a love child? That's probably going a bit too far but one never knows.

    June 30, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Craig Simpson

    Don't resign Mark!

    He is a great poster boy for the GOP! You gotta love it.

    The party of Rush Lumbug, Dicky Cheney, George Dubyu and Newt Gingrash needs all of the help that it can get.

    Mark will lead the GOP in 2016. Heck.....he has been learning Spannish to bone up on his foreign AFFAIRS.

    Hang in there Mark! Even if it is at the end of a rope!

    June 30, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Sue

    It is not because of the infidelity...it is because of his negligence in failing to put the welfare of South Carolina before his personal pleasure.

    June 30, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. GOP = 21st century dodo

    Adultery is involved, but that's not what this is about. It's about hypocrisy taken to its furthest extreme, and the heaping pile of lies used to cover it up.

    June 30, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. KJL

    This was not about an affair. It was about dereliction of duty, dishonesty, and the invasion of warped religious principles into politics. Sanford is disgusting.

    June 30, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. Brent

    This hypocrite should step down because it is the "ethical" thing to do based on his own supposedly "high" moral standards. It's bad enough that he rejected the stimulus money for political reasons and turned a blind eye toward the people who are struggling financially in his state. Now he thinks it's okay to disappear without telling anyone while he fools around with his mistress in another country, traveling on the taxpayers' dime. Pathetic in every regard.

    June 30, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Rick CT

    Have to agree with the majority on this one. Good to see that this is not a partisan issue among those polled.

    But adultry is only part of the issue. He lied and he abandoned his leadership position without notice. Not to mention, the people of SC would be picking up the tab if he hadn't been caught.

    June 30, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. LIP

    Are we talking about all americans or a percentage of a percentage like .000001 percent of all americans? Polls are ridiculous and everyone except the media seems to know this.
    Clinton didn't resign and he lied to us, so why should Sanford resign and why should everyone be doing polls and reading this dribble.
    Lets blog on Iran and Israel and Palestine and the Turks and their oil in Iraq and other more relevant stuff.

    June 30, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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