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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I want his resignation on the Lt. Governor's desk by the end of the day.

    June 30, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Keith , Co

    The Adulterer Left his job with a no call no show policy. Anyone one of us who left their job for 5days and didn't call would lose their job.

    Obviously he should not resign based on the affair. Being derelict in duty is another matter entirely.

    June 30, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Maria

    If he did not break any state or federal laws, the ultimate problem is between himself and his family, just like President Clinton's problem was between Hillary and Chelsey. What voters think or want should be expressed in the next Governor election, which is not of any relevance because Sanford cannot be reelected.

    June 30, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. Rick

    Who cares what the guy does with his PERSONAL life.
    I sure as hell don't and all you hypocrites who think you are any better than he is need to go look in the mirror.

    June 30, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. kp

    if responders feel Sanford should resign, so then should Ted Kennedy resign; Bill Clinton should have been thrown out of the white house on his butt; Jesse Jackson should loose his ministry; etc.
    You get where I'm going with this?

    June 30, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. Dan

    By-by Mark, you have lied your wife for seven years, maybe more, we don't know, you can not tell the whole story without leaving something out. You are a liar, and a cheat. Get out of town

    Dan, Hilton Heqad Island, sc

    June 30, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Lynn

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Sanford should resign? What about Clinton who slept with/had affairs with numerous women? What about JFK who had affairs with numerous women including Marilyn Monroe, what about Robert Kennedy who slept and had affairs with numerous women? And last but now least, what about Ted Kennedy, so loved and admired, whose car went off a bridge with Mary Jo Kopechne in it, walked to his home, slept through the night, then called the police the next morning. Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. All hypocrites! Oh, and Jesse Jackson Junior.

    June 30, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Jack in Florida

    Without a doubt.....he should be gone

    June 30, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. DigDug

    But if Stanford resigns, who will be left to "protect marriage." Oh, that's right, Sen. Ensign.

    Gotta' love these guys and their "values."

    June 30, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. NO WAY

    NO He SHOULDNT!!!! For all we know his wife mustve driven him off to the extremes he went to get love and affection

    He should Divorce her and Move on!

    June 30, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Ashley

    Why does this affair affect his position? People have affairs every single day. Do they get fired from their jobs? Are you all forgetting BILL CLINTON? He was the PRESIDENT and LIED about his affair. Should we punish someone for actually telling the truth?

    June 30, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. sunnie

    Why should Sanford quit, Bill Clinton didn't.

    June 30, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Quitting would be right and decent thing to do, but since when have you associated those traits with the GOP?!

    June 30, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Ceboia

    This "scandal" about Governor Sanford is one of the most absolutely boring events in recent history. He puts me to sleep with his rambling "apologies". Keep up the good work Republicans...electing dorks like Sanford is great for the Democratic party.

    June 30, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Ben

    Get thee out!!!
    The more he lies, the worse he looks...

    June 30, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. KMAN

    This pathetic pathological liar needs to resign immediately and begin working through his King David complex with his "spiritual advisor". What an azz!

    June 30, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. John

    What a scumbag,down banging some bimbo,and not with his kids on fathers day.I feel sorry for his wife,but she should also give him the boot

    June 30, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Gill Frierson

    Why should he resign? Has everybody forgot about what President Clinton did? Or is it OK for him to do it and not a GOP member?

    June 30, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Lynn

    Oh, and of course, Mary Jo Kopechne was dead but, of course, Ted, a Kennedy, of course, was never charged with anything?

    Sanford has not come near this kind of 'sick' behavior.

    Let him finish out the term; after all, isn't that what we'd do with Ted?

    June 30, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Joe Licketto

    Governor Mark Sanford is the governor of the state of South Carolina. It is NOT up to the rest of the people of the United States to call for his resignation. Gov. Sanford serves the will of the people of South Carolina and is therefore NOT a federal employee subject to the will of the people of the U.S.

    Former President Clinton should have been asked to resign or should have been impeached for his indiscretion while serving as president of the U.S. Even though the circumstances were very similar – except that Gov. Sanford didn't do his "dallying" in his office and home – Clinton was allowed to continue in office, unimpeded by national public opinion.

    June 30, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Bruce

    The People ion South Carolina should decide, certainly not a National Poll of random CNN viewers.

    June 30, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. cmitch FW, TX

    He needs to resign ASAP!!!

    June 30, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. Sarge in Florida

    Re grin and Bare it..Do you need some lube to put around your arse while getting plowed by another Republican or do you prefer it raw and hard like you did in prison?

    June 30, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Mike

    While no one needs to care about Sanford's marital issues they do require his total and complete accountability as the chief elected officer of his state. Sanford violated a most simple and a most important responsibility when he walked away from his responsibilities as Governor without informing anyone of his whereabouts.

    That is the one standard on which he should be judged and the only reason why he should immediately tender his resignation as governor of South Carolina.

    June 30, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. George Carlin

    Sanford to Argintina sounds good. If he wants to be with her he should leave and try yo be a Mayor of a small town. This is all he is qualified for anyway. You never leave a state that you (govern) un-attended. If I did that at work I would be fired..........

    June 30, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
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