Poll: 60 percent of state wants Sanford to resign

An aide to the South Carolina governor, though, says resignation isn't an option

Published June 25, 2009 6:15PM (EDT)

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is still signaling that he plans to hold on to his job, or at least try to, but his constituents seem to have other ideas.

A new poll by SurveyUSA, conducted Wednesday, shows that 60 percent of South Carolinians believe Sanford should resign, while 34 percent think he should stay in office and five percent aren't sure.

That's a striking number on its own, but when you bore down further into the poll, it gets even more interesting. Not surprisingly, more women than men want Sanford gone -- 64 percent of women said he should resign, compared to 56 percent of men -- though the difference is just barely within the margin of error. But there's a much larger difference between the opinions of white respondents and black respondents. 81 percent of African Americans said they think Sanford should resign; only 53 percent of whites said the same thing.

The really bad news for Sanford, a Republican, is that this poll isn't just a reflection of what Democrats think. True, 74 percent of Democrats want the governor to resign, and that skews the overall result. But 61 percent of independents feel the same way, and Republicans were split, with 48 percent saying he should step down compared to 47 percent saying he shouldn't.

But an unnamed senior advisor to Sanford told the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza that the governor isn't even thinking about resigning. "Mark is firmly focused on reconciling his marriage, and on fulfilling his duties to the people of South Carolina for the remaining eighteen months of his term," the advisor said. "Jenny is a full partner in both of those desires."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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