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. annieok

    And for three-quarters of the respondents, it's probably not that he committed adultry at all but the mess and lying that's surrounding it. A week ago, he said he met this woman 5 times in 8 years. Now it's up to 7 times in the last year. The US had a policy against dealing with Argentina because they defaulted brazenly on their IMF debt ,but Sanford called the American embassy while he was in Brazil, hurriedly trying to set up meetings with anyone so that it looked like a kosher economic visit he could charge off to South Carolina. He's been lying all along and no one would have been the wiser if he didn't go off the deep end and leave the state in a tizzy looking for him. The man's mental state is in serious doubt. He's still saying he had his wife's permission to go to NY to see (end it with) his mistress; his wife says she never has and never would give her permission. It's a wonder anyone thinks he shouldn't resign.

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

    i think politicians who lie about matters that directly affect their ability to govern, mislead their staff members, exercise poor judgement and act irresponsibly should resign or be removed from office. governor sanford's bombshell admission that he was in argentine with his mistress has overshadowed his dereliction of duty - leaving the state for five-days without letting his staff or the next in command know that he was out of the country. sanford's case is more than an issue ofinfidelity and hypocrisy.

    June 30, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  3. dark days

    If he'll lie to his wife, he'll lie to the taxpayers for any reason. Resign.

    June 30, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. Bored, anonymous, and pathetic

    he should resign, not because of the affair, but because he misappropriate state funds for his travels. so what if he offered to pay it back – he still used it. violating your marriage vows is your own business, violating the public trust = grounds for resignation/impeachment/prosecution.

    he's finished anyway and should do something (finally) for his family.

    June 30, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  5. HikingStick

    The reason why I believe marital infidelity matters in politics is this: if a person cannot honor a vow he took to be faithful to his spouse in marriage, what makes you think such a person will keep a vow to uphold the laws of his state or country?

    Governor Sullivan and his family have my sympathies. I've been tempted, and know how easy it would be to think "no one need know about this." Yet I remember my wife, and the commitment I made to her, so I stay the course and keep my vow. God willing, I will never break it.

    June 30, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Jim

    Most South Carolinians don’t really care what the rest of the country thinks about our Governor after all most of them voted for Obama. To them we say,”mind your own business.” We’re sure you have problems of your own that require your attention.

    June 30, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  7. wilma Genegene

    This is a no-brainer !
    Of course he should resign.
    Let,s see if the others around him have the guts to insist he do the correct move!

    June 30, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Al Smith

    Kick him to the curb, and I am Republican.

    He cheated on his wife, disgraced her and his family through his actions. And what kind of an example is he settng for his boys.

    Do not cheat, Do not Lie and Do not Steal.

    June 30, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  9. k wilbur

    Make up your minds America (and the GOP). If marriage is such a "sacred" covenant between a man and a woman .... WALK THE WALK. Otherwise shut up, screw around, and let everyone else do their thing.

    June 30, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. MJHS1967

    That lying "crow" should resign. -He look worst that Rudy did when he was hold up in Florida looking a chipmunk during the 2008 election! 🙁

    June 30, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  11. Jack

    It doesn't really matter what a national poll says. What do the people of South Carolina think he should do? If you can't report relevent data, why bother reporting at all? Oh, I forgot, it's not about news, it's about scandal and ratings!

    June 30, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  12. Island girl

    The Almighty will see to a complete purge in the leadership of South Carolina. This governor was weakened beyond help so that there could be a dawning of a new day in this poor state. "Thy will be done!"

    June 30, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Dramafied

    It would appear that conservatism does not work for the state South Carolina, one of the poorest states in this country and third in unemployment. It would appear that some conservatives are going against their religious beliefs in allowing Sanford to remain in office. When scandal involves the Republicans, they will do all in their power to justify it. I call it forked tongue. Sanford himself is trying to justify his own mistake by making a half witted comment about God opening new doors. Forget it Sanford, you have disgraced the governorship of South Carolina. It is time for you leave office either on your own, or suffer the course of impeachment. I have no pity on politicians who continually serve themselves in the name of the people they were elected to serve.

    June 30, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Jim Dokes

    You don't have to belong to one party or the other to know a rat when you see one.

    June 30, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Dave C - NJ

    Let Sanford stay.
    His marriage problems do not affect his ability to enforce lousy GOP policy.

    June 30, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. Mitzie - GA

    Governor Sanford disappeared from his state and no one knew where he was. Even if he had simply been hiking the Appalachains as originally reported, it would have been a dereliction of his duties. His rational for staying in office seems to be his way of keeping himself on the straight and narrow. The people of the state of South Carolina do not owe him that opportunity. He owes his state his service. The affair itself is a matter between the Governor and his family with the financial aspect being the exception.

    June 30, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. winkum

    He should probably resign however we did not ask President Clinton to resign when he had an affair and sexually harassed a government employee then lied under oath about it so why would we expect Sanford to?

    June 30, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Dave

    I personally think we need to stop demanding our politicans be infallible, but if meaningless sex with a hooker means Spitzer has to resign, having an actual affair certainly means Sanford should.

    June 30, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. Tom

    Sigh. It's time to resign, if nothing else, to allow the republican party to try and overcome its hypocritical image of preaching "family values" and such. Not that it'll do any good.

    June 30, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford should stay in office. Because adultery do not indicates that a person ( he or she) does or does not have the integrity to hold high public office, more like a family or personal thing.Governor Sanford has admitted to a year long extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. Next time get someone closer to home. Argentina! well isn't like going out for a beer or a night out on the town/club to get away for a while.

    June 30, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. European-American (formerly No Incumbents 2010, until some bleeding heart lib stole it)

    When did politicians start worrying about what Americans think?

    June 30, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. gary

    Polls don't make a president or a governor. I hope he doesn't take the easy way out and resign. Having been to SC many times, he is the perfect person to run the state. And besides, this just gets more entertaining everyday.

    June 30, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  23. Roy Arellano (San Antonio)

    I am not a Republican, and I do not support many of the Republican reps in office at all levels, and I surely disagree with neo-cons and conservatives BUT, this man, even though I don't agree with his policy stands, SHOULD NOT RESIGN FROM OFFICE. His personal failures have as much to do on how he does his job as a credit check does for someone about to work with something that has nothing to do with finances.

    This is stupid. I expect to read about politics here not Access Hollywood tabloid matters with politicians.

    One person said it best, debating the "morality" matter for any politician is like spitting into the wind, everyone's going to get spat on at some point.

    As far as his hypocricy when dealing with his oppinions on Clinton for the same failure, well if he resigns for that, then that's a different story.

    June 30, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  24. Skiwee

    He went MIA for 5 days, leaving his state and office without telling his staff how he could be reached.

    Does that constitute violating an oath or condition of office?

    Mark Sanford, resign already!!!!!

    June 30, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. renea

    If Mark Sanford stays governor this will be very hypocritical because it will send a message that you can be agovernor or an elective official and do whatever but if you are an an ordinary person thats a different story if you have a job and stays gone 4or 5 days without showing up or calling you will be jobless. So what makes the governor any different.

    June 30, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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