Thursday, June 25, 2009

Why Sanford will resign: 92% of Americans think extramarital affairs are morally wrong

(Click on image to enlarge)

Amidst a flurry of wishful thinking stories (like this one) floated by people trying to help South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford hang on to his political career, the hard reality is that a spectacular 92% (!) of Americans believe that extramarital affairs are immoral, according to a Gallup poll.

By way of comparison, 30% think the death penalty is immoral, 40% say that about sex between unmarried men and women, 47% turn thumbs down on gay sex, and 56% believe abortion is not morally acceptable. In fact, extramarital affairs are on a par with polygamy, which garners 91%. (See the whole list above.)

Worse for high-profile offenders like Sanford, moral distaste for violating marriage vows cuts across the political spectrum and every demographic. Democrats are a bit more tolerant of cheating than Republicans. Still, only 10% of Democrats (vs. 2% of Republicans) think having an affair is acceptable. Men are only a tad more likely than women (8% vs. 3%) to tolerate it. Even age doesn't matter. The attitudes of people 18-29 are not much different from those 30 and up.

In short, the public overwhelmingly does not like a guy who cheats on his wife, period. This explains why Sanford's days in the state house in Columbia are numbered.

In a Survey/USA poll, 60 % of folks in South Carolina think Sanford should resign and only 34% are willing to let him stay on. Another quickie overnight poll of South Carolinians has 50% who say Sanford should resign and 42% who think he should remain in office. I suspect to see that 60% (or 50%) grow as political rivals ratchet up the pressure and more details of Sanford's behavior are made public by a press now in overdrive. Today, Sanford was forced to admit that he met his paramour on a "trade" trip to Argentina in 2008, and has said he will reimburse the state for the travel. Politico has found that Sanford booked a 10-day trip to Buenos Aires, which he cut short when the "where's Sanford" hoopla took hold in the media, raising new questions about how long he planned to leave his responsibilities untended. And (among many others, no doubt) is nosing around Buenos Aires bars.

This stuff won't stop until Sanford resigns. He can't do the job of Governor anyway, so if he had any scruples left at all, he'd resign right now.

What do you think? Post a comment.

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