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. JA/TN

    the man abandoned his job, without notice, can (Sam Bob) most criminals repay monies without penalty, no, abuse of funds, while rejecting stimulus funds, he should be impeached, and tried

    June 30, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. AP

    If you leave w/o notice for FIVE DAYS at ANY other job, you'd be fired. Well, technically you'd be fired for being M.I.A. after just two days. Sanford has got to go.

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

    jo June 30th, 2009 3:21 pm ET

    No body perfect

    Jo, I have to agree ... you are far from perfect.

    June 30, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Claudia in Houson

    He should resign now to continue his relationship with his mistress which should be obvious to anyone those are his plans now and later.

    June 30, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Calypte

    Oh, I think he should stay. The longer we can rub the Republicans' noses in their utter hypocricy, the more I enjoy it.

    June 30, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  6. Mike, ME

    Yes, Mark Sanford lied; yes he committed adultery; and yes, his actions went against much of what he and the party to which he belongs preaches. But why should he resign, any more than President Bill Clinton should have resigned 11 years ago for doing many of the same things? In both cases, I believe resignation was/is not the best course of action. Let Mr. Sanford continue stewing in the public spotlight, in shame and humiliation, for a while longer... at least until South Carolina's voters have the opportunity to pass judgment on him.

    June 30, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. The Real "No Incumbents 2010"

    Since when is falling in love a reason to resign? Ensign, Gingrich and Vitter had filthy affairs and they are adored by the hypocritical Repuglican establishment.

    June 30, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Debbie

    I think he should do the best job he possibly can for the people of his state (and not resign). Let Democracy take care of his fate at the end of his term.

    June 30, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. d1120

    Clinton got away with it...numerous times. Why is he different???

    June 30, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. Jim

    The democrats are far worse than any Republican.

    No commenter here can argue against that fact.

    June 30, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. JJ

    Hey CCN, where is the story on the cover up of the EPA report debunking this myth of global warming ? ?? ?

    Stop the stories of Sanford..enough already (who cares!)!!!!

    June 30, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Fed up with low morals in SC

    Yes he should step down. although the LT Gov may be as bad. He had said prevously that if Sanford did step down and he had to take hi place he would not run in the next election but now he is saying he is. It seems already he is lying. Perhaps he has a hidden agenda as well.

    June 30, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  13. George

    Who cares!!??? That is his decision!! Maybe America should concentrate on doing better also. We have a huge opportunity in front of us, but we choose to fight, throw stones, and pout like the republicans have been doing. How about for once, everyone in Washington, think about the country they say they so dearly love.
    Quit fighting, start working for the good of our country. You people can
    make HISTORY, not just news. Now President Obama, take the bull by the horns and insist that it doesn't turn around, because America is sick of getting the other end of the bull.

    June 30, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. PJ

    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.

    June 30, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Ken

    MatthewDetriot wouldn't know socialism if his grandmother hit him in the head with her social security check. Or if he checked out an Ayn Rand book from a public library.

    But please keep tossing your vective, it just shows you're that nothing but bloviating idiot.

    June 30, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    When is this guy going to shut up? Does he think he's going to absolve himself by admitting all the lurid details of his extramarital love life? How embarassing for his wife and children. I think she should dump him on the curb. It's bad enough that he engaged in that type of behavior without acting like a total idiot by pulling that vanishing act, and then blabbing about it ad nauseum when he got caught. SHUT UP SANFORD!!!

    June 30, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. Melissa

    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.

    June 30, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Jamie from Riverside

    Get a clue, Mr. Sanford. Maybe you quit and run for office in Argentina.

    June 30, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. ao

    Sanford should be fired – as Bill Clinton should have been fired, as should Barney Frank be fired, as should Nancy Pelosi be fired. As should 95% of all our elected members of federal government (along with all their appointees). Almighty God will judge this nation based on our leaders. I am fearful for the United States of America.

    June 30, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. history repeats

    bill cllinton didnt campaign to protect marriage. his main focus wasnt to talk about the sanctity of marriage while cheating on his wife. he didnt take plane trips to south america on taxpayer dollars and time.

    June 30, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. ConsiderThis, FL

    He really thinks that he can outsmart his constituents and talk his way out of the mess that he has created for his selfish self. He abandoned his state, cheated on his wife, lied to everybody and said that he "apologizes," not "I'm sorry." This man has bigtime issues and should not be head of his state's government.

    June 30, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. phyllis

    I think that Gov. Sanford, should step down, and go off somewhere and work on his marriage. Every time he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it, I think he has not told the whole story yet, if he keeps talking, he will tell off on his self again, if I was his wife, I would divorce him, he made the statement that he would try and love her again, I would tell him to try and get over his self, I think he is in love with his self, more than anyone else. I don't think this wife of his is going to put up with much more of his crap, she is not like the rest of these women, who find themselves in this kind of mess, he is more worried about his self than anyone else. I feel bad for his children, thinking that they have such a father, that would leave them on fathers day, and had rather be with his girlfriend, that his family. WOW what a dad!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 30, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. Island girl

    "Sanford told The Associated Press he had met with Maria Belen Chapur seven times, including five visits in the past 12 months".

    He should get a refund from that spiritual adivser (witch doctor?) who tagged along on one of the dates. Doesn't he know that seven is not always a lucky number? The hocus pocus did not work.

    June 30, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. Larry

    Just another Republican hiding behind his own lies ...

    The Party Of NO ... truth

    The Party Of NO ... morals

    The Party Of NO ... help for the American people

    June 30, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. D-Nice

    Re: Enough (and others)

    If you think CNN spends their time making up fake nation-wide polls about what a southern governor should or should not do, why do you even come here for your news?

    Shouldn't you be foaming at the mouth over at Fox News or Free Republic with the rest of the paranoid crazies?

    June 30, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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