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. Karen

    Jenny Sanford deserves SO MUCH MORE!! She is a class act, he is a typical politician who can't tell the truth!

    June 30, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. Ryan

    It doesn't really matter what a national poll thinks should be done. It's ultimately up to the people of South Carolina. CNN should have asked the people of the state instead of people all over the USA.

    June 30, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. Chris

    Agreed. Sanford should do the honorable thing and step down.

    June 30, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. Jeff, Huntington Beach, CA

    He has no need to worry... God is telling him what to do. If God wants him to stay on as Governor, he shall be Governor.

    In 2012 he will be President, with Sister Sarah Palin as his VP.

    Sound crazy? It is! This is the view of ridiculous religious right. They still praise God for George W Bush!

    June 30, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Drew, FL

    I personally don't care about his affairs. What matters is that he went AWOL for five days. You do that in the military you get disciplined. You do that in the private sector and it's called voluntary termination, and that's after 3 days.

    June 30, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Texas Teacher

    Just heard on TV his comments about his affair and disappearance. So he went AWOL to visit his soul mate and now he is TRYING to fall back in love with his wife! Were I she, I would tell him to stick it... the more I hear about this man and his situation the more I think he should step down or be pushed down! He does not have the good sence to govern. His private life is over the edge... sounds like a computer romance gone wild! We should expect more from our political officials. He needs to take off to his soul mate and let himself become history here. I am sure he could find some meaningful employment down there with his experience.... *grin and snicker*

    June 30, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  7. diane

    He should have resigned a long time ago.

    June 30, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  8. TCM


    CNN only allows 8 posts about Obama's leadership....CENSORSHIP!

    And yet, Sanford's numbers are still better than Obama's! Keep trying CNN, I'm sure that if you cannot fully discredit any conservative through smut smearing, Huffington will help!

    June 30, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  9. Shonie

    Once again CNN refuses to publish polling data....Funny how more republicans want him to resign...how many fake votes did you have to add for that one?

    June 30, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  10. Brent

    Did his "spiritual advisor" share the bed with them in Argentina?

    June 30, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. No He Shouldn't

    It's no really up to the entire country, so why waste time taking a poll?

    June 30, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. M. Jan, Exton, Pa.

    I don't know what America and Americans coming to. We don't have moral value and morality any more. In the name of forget and forgive we want to forget and forgive specially those who talk about value more than other. When: Money is lost, nothing is lost
    When: Health is lost something is lost
    when: Character is lost everything is lost

    Mr. Sanford should resign immediately.

    June 30, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. Lance

    I'd say most of those who want him to stay are connected to his opponents – inside the Republican Partayyy or the Democrats. Clearly whoever he worships isn't giving him any insight into how ridiculous he now is. Maybe Buddhism would help him a bit more.

    June 30, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  14. Fear based leaders/crooks

    Boy, CNN is pushing this story big time. I wonder why they didn't push the John Edwards trist more.

    Who cares about this stuff? Let's do a report on 9/11, or the federal reserve, or WMD, or torture. You know, important things

    June 30, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. Steph

    He won't step down. He is too busy thinking of himself.

    If he were a real man, he would step down and focus on repairing his relationship with his family. I still can't get over the fact that he was in Argentina with his mistress on Father's Day! Really, what kind of creep does that?

    June 30, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Marc

    CNN stop 'moderating' my posts!!!

    To all those who says that 'This is not news' or 'This is old news, move on CNN' or 'what else could be expected from such a biased source like CNN?'...
    Sorry... but Sanford was really vocal against everything that the current president did, no matter what it was, so he became sort of a poster boy for the GOP.
    He put himself in the spotlight.
    Then, or better, since forever he has posed as the Moral Values incarnated in human flesh. He even went to the lenghts to say that if he ever found himslef in the same spot of Bill Clinton (i.e. he had become an alduterer), he would resign. He said it.
    Now that he was found in the same spot of former president Clinton, and only because he abandoned his post as the governor of a state to be with his mistress, he wants to use the classic line from that Genesis song 'Just do as I say, don't do as I do'? He is appealling to the same Christian values of forgiveness that he never professed before?
    Caught on the spot and while still a major player in the Southern and National political stage.
    That's why it is news...

    June 30, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  17. Thomas5

    As a resident of South Carolina, two points need to be made:

    1) What the "majority of Americans" think is irrelevant. He's the governor of South Carolina, not America. He is *OUR* business, and whether he steps down as governor of SC or not is none of *YOUR* business if you don't live here.

    2) As for whether or not I feel he should step down (because, being a SC resident, I have a say), he should step down or be impeached. And I say that as a one who generally liked Sanford and agreed with him about 85% of the time.

    June 30, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Liberal4Obama

    He lied the first time around, he had more encounters with his Argentinian mistress and also was with other women, so not only did he cheat on his wife, he cheat on his mistress who he said he loved more than anything. This guy is a joke, and he is making South Carolina look real bad in the eyes of America.

    June 30, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. MIKE

    He should resign, specially people from the south, preaching good family values, and what about the expending money from our Taxes, and lack of responsibility in his duties as a governor. nobody has the power to decide who is IN and who is OUT, but the people of this country, not the elite of corruption and manipulative in government.

    June 30, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. CJG

    Yes , he needs to resign , along with his bad memory and not being truthful ....makes a mockery of the moral "minority" and family values that a repub is suppose to possess, shows the GOP up for the hypocrital party they are.
    I'll take Mr Obama and his date nights , his love for his daughters and family , and his obvious cool and calm over this GOP mess that just keeps getting worse. They just do not practice what they preach , do not do as I do , do as I say is just crap!

    June 30, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. mari

    Resign, resign resign and to the mistress tell her why is she upset?
    Did she not expect this to happen when she decided to become involved with a man she new was married. Tell her not to "leave it to God" like she saids. I do not think God needs to be involved in this he has more important things to take care of then this affair.

    June 30, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. Lance

    I don't care about his extra-marital affair. That's between him & his wife. I think he should resign because he abandoned his job for his own selfish interest. He obviously didn't care enough about the people of SC (or his job) to stay at his post. What would happen if other SC state employees were to decide to disappear for 5 days? I guarantee that they wouldn't have the option of resigning. They would surely be fired for job abandonment. Why should Sanford be any different? He could have taken a leave of absence to deal with his issues. Instead he CHOSE to sneak off and lie about it like a child getting caught skipping school!
    He gets no points for "standing up like a man and admitting his mistake."
    GARBAGE! He did it because he got caught, period!
    He has shown himself:
    1) to lack moral character
    2) to lack commitment to his constituents
    3) to disregard the needs of his staff
    4) to show extremely poor judgment

    And that's why he should resign.

    June 30, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  23. Peter (CA)

    All I see is...Well, what about Bill Clinton?
    I'll say the same thing about Sanford I said about Clinton regarding the marriage: it's between him, his wife, and her frying pan.

    If Sanford used taxpayer money, if he was derelict in his duty by abandoing his post, then he should resign. Not because he had an affair. That should be up to his wife to punish him.

    June 30, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Annie, Atlanta

    He should resign, immediately. And not because of the affair, though my heart goes out to his wife and kids because of the publicity it's getting. He should resign because he's unfit to serve. He left his state in a lurch for 5 days, all on the taxpayers' dime. The selfishness of his actions is astounding. Then there's the self-righteousness, which I won't even get into. Come on South Carolinians, neighbors, you know you deserve way better than this.

    June 30, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
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