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. Maxine Keith

    Mark Sanford is not the first one to make a mystake, and he will not be the last one. Well President Clinton came out smelling like a rose so why is Mark Sanford any different. He has ask forgiveness and God has forgiven him and please let go. I say we keep him as our Governer of SC. Pray for him and his family.

    June 30, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  2. bob--Greenville, SC

    What a waste! Enough of the false tears. He should resign or be impeached. As time goes on, I am sure more and more will be revealed. He can't keep hs lies straight

    June 30, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  3. Chai-wallah

    Hello Mr. "Sandman" How many times did you drop your pants for this woman? By the way, don't answer that question.

    You need to answer to the people of SC for absconding all those days and not letting anyone know you were AOL.

    Did you pay for those trips out of pocket, or were paid for by the tax payers? Answer: partly by tax payers; you used a State vehicle for your little hide and go seek!

    You are a bad boy Mr. "Sandman"

    June 30, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. johnnie

    cnn needs to resign from the media,tell bill bennett and lou dobbs, john king,they are a disgrace just like gov. sanford.lou dobbs is a cancer to your so called news network,like sanford is a cancer to south carolina,john king is a crusader for the gop, like sanford is a crusader of lies, and bill bennett salutes the confederate flag in south carolina,cnn we just got al franken to the senate seat and 60 looks better than 59 and will soon have a victory in south carolina in 2012, sanford made that happen, and tell linseed graham pack his bags 2 he is next to go, get in line.

    June 30, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Chuck

    What kind of man would rather spend Father's Day with his mistress than his four sons?

    June 30, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. sensible Cape Coral FL

    The difference between Bill Clinton and Mark Sandford is that Bill NEVER claimed to be "Holier-than-thou." What both did was reprehensible but Bill was not hypocritcal about his morals.

    June 30, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Matthew

    He should NOT resign! if he does, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer will succeed him and receive an unfair advantage going into the next year's election, where multiple candidates have already lined up. I'm sure the poll didn't factor this in and most respondents where ignorant of the political reality in South Carolina, probably because CNN was too busy reporting on the death of Michael Jackson.

    June 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. Melissa

    Yet again at the risk of sounding like a broken record... Republicans, the problem is not the cheating, its the going AWOL, and the using his destitute states funds to do it after claiming to be a fundamentalist Christian superiority complex.

    June 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. bill

    this guy is a right wing christian. WOWITS A NO BRANER.but thats up to the people that elected this scum bag.dont hear from boener or mitch mconell .whats up guys.are you next

    June 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Adam

    After reading the comments, it is apparent that most of you believe the world will come apart if someone isn't in charge. My God people grow up!

    I live in SC and I could care less where the Governor is. You see I, unlike most of you commenter’s here, do not need someone holding my hand. I can take care of myself. The Governor is not there to make sure everything will be safe. That would be impossible.

    As for the affair. That is between him and his wife.

    Should he resign? That is up to us in South Carolina.

    The rest of you. MIND YOUR OWN BUISNESS!!!!

    June 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Frank Lee

    Hang in there, Mark.

    Each day your sordid affair reads like a chapter in a sex novel.

    This is cheaper than buying a book at Borders, but just as fascinating.

    Don't give up just yet, buddy.

    June 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. Ridgeway

    Lie and cover up? Yeah, Bill Clinton never did anything like that. Of course he was only President, not the governor of South Carolina. Certainly Sanford held more sway of matters of importance than Clinton. Polls say he should resign. Well, how many of those polled were geniuses that voted for Obama. Yep, the Obama Barometer of intellect. Only slightly lower than certain fire fighters scores in New England.

    June 30, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Michael

    George I think the republiucans have a right to pout i mean isn't that what the democrats did the entire time Bush was in Office pout about the Supreme Court rejecting their coutless lawsuits while trying to get Gore in the Office instead.

    June 30, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. Cache

    First he lies about the affair–both to the People and to his wife; then says he wants to work on his marriage–another lie since it was only after flying back with his nearly week-long fling; then he lies about how often he's been out there.

    The people of the United States can respect a man who makes a mistake and owns up to it. It is American tradition to see people who have fallen get back up with our full support–but America does not tolerate liars. He should step down, because I cannot look at the man without wondering what other lies he has not yet decided to disclose.

    June 30, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Angela

    Yes, this is between sanford and his State. He abandoned his job, left no notice to anyone on how he could be reach in an emergency. Did not pass the reins to his Lt. Gov as I am sure it is stated in the State Constitution. He could have just been sleeping by the river or on a retreat, he did not take vacation time, sick time no, just took off from his job.

    I can't do that, you can't do that. Why can he?

    June 30, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Maggie, MD

    He needs to stay CNN, bring the mistress up from Argentina, move into the Governors' mansion and continue to lie like a rug.

    Of COURSE he should resign, and he did break the law by using taxpayer dollars to pay for his romp in the hay with Maria.

    Also, for the record, I'm a Dem and did NOT support Clinton and never will–any of them.

    June 30, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Pat

    Adultery? Who cares, non-issue. MIA for 5 days and using state money? Big issue. I think the "resign" numbers would be even higher if the poll concentrated on the REAL issue here.

    June 30, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Moderate Democrat

    PJ June 30th, 2009 3:50 pm ET

    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.
    There are laws on the books of South Carolina that specifically prohibit Adultery. as such, Yes, he DID break laws if he committed Adultery and is a resident of South Carolina. You would think the GOVERNOR, of all people, would be held to obide by STATE laws. Or since it's a republican do you think it's suddently ok to break the law?

    June 30, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Mike

    Probably the same people who thought it incomprehensible to go after Bill Clinton for his many affairs. Democrats! At least be consistent with your views. If it was OK for the President of the United States to carry on affairs inside the White House with an intern and it be "none of our business" then why is it your business that a governor is having an affair with someone?
    I said Clinton should have resigned and I think this guy should also. At least I'm consistent.

    June 30, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    BTW, for my Moral majority party friends, over the last three years
    Craig in Utah – no resignation
    Ensign in Nevada – no resignation
    Vitter in Louisiana – no resignation
    Foley in Florida – no resignation, didn't run again
    Sanford (so far) – no resignation
    McGreevy in New Jersey – Resigned
    Spitzer in New York – Resigned
    Guy who took Foley's spot – no resignation, didn't run again

    Difference between the moral majority, whose members run on a stark platform of family values, and the other party?
    Repubs – ZERO resignations.
    Dems – two resignations.

    Remind me – which party owns up to their failures?

    June 30, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. Tom Jones

    Gov. Sandford offered to pay back to the State of South Carolina for a personal trip to visit his mistress in Buenos Aires. Why did he not do this on his own accord? if he had not been cought in the affair, he would not pay back the State. Why can a politician steal from the Government and not be fired immediately? How many more politicians do we have who steal from the Government? It is really true that there are no honest politicians left. If Sandford were a decent man, he would step down, but I guess he is not.

    June 30, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. Ken in Mt

    it's a sorry world where any election is overturned due to sexual misconduct. He's just a governor, not a high Preist and have to be Holy and blameless. Lighten up we are just human after all. Though it might make a bit of difference if he had not been so hard line on Clinton's dailiance.

    June 30, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. Moderate Democrat

    Jim June 30th, 2009 3:47 pm ET

    The democrats are far worse than any Republican.

    No commenter here can argue against that fact.
    You alone prove your statement to be a fairy tale. With morons like you, republicans will always get atleast some votes. keep em stupid, and they vote Republican.

    June 30, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Shawn

    It's not about the cheating.

    It's about the bizarre behavior, the lying, the disappearing, the dereliction of duty and the abuse of taxpayer funds. Oh, and the hypocrisy of course. Now more lying. Sanford should resign.

    June 30, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. dee

    He should step down, not because of the other woman but because he left his state high and dry!

    June 30, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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