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WaPo-ABC poll on Gitmo

In ordering a suspension of legal action against suspected terrorists being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Barack Obama starts out on a popular path, albeit one without particularly widespread or bipartisan support.

In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, 53 percent of Americans said the United States should shutter the controversial facility, finding another way to deal with the prisoners under custody there. But a sizable proportion of all adults polled, 42 percent, and a broad majority of Republicans, 69 percent, said terrorism suspects should remain at Gitmo. Most Democrats, 68 percent, and independents, 55 percent, said they'd prefer another way.

One reason for Obama's order on judicial proceedings is to figure out just how to handle those suspects, and among those in the new poll who want Gitmo closed, more than six in 10 said they should be put on trial in the regular U.S. court system. A third said they'd like them to face justice in their home countries. Here, there's little partisan difference: Most Democrats, Republicans and independents who want to find another way to handle terrorism suspects would prefer that they stand trial in this country.

Obama's making this one of his first actions is also notable because of how little public outcry there is on the issue. In a Post-ABC poll a month ago, closing Guantanamo finished last on an eight-item list of things Obama should do after taking office, and just 18 percent said they thought it was something he should address right after becoming president.

Nevertheless, some see the action as critical to improving America's image abroad, something that 77 percent of people in that poll said Obama would be able to do once in office.

Q: Do you think the United States should continue to hold suspected terrorists at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or should it find another way to deal with these terrorism suspects?

          Continue to hold   Find another way      No 
            at Guantanamo    to deal with them   opinion
All adults       42                 53              5

Democrats        26                 68              5
Republicans      69                 29              2
Independents     40                 55              5

Full January Post-ABC poll available here

By Jon Cohen  |  January 21, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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Next: On Torture


Well what are we going to do? Let these people get away with murder? Once released they will surely either go back to the battle field and kill more people or our military personnell. The majority of the detainees, if given a chance would kill every American they could. I think that we need to put the people who want to free them be given the opportunity to be the first in line. How stupid can you be. Have they not seen how they cut off the heads of those who oppose the Muslim way of life.

Posted by: WhoKnows1 | January 21, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This poll is proof that Repukes have no regard for the law or for moral values.

What is disturbing is a significant minority of Dems are Repuke Lite and share these immoral values.

Probably DLC Clintonistas.

America has become a nasty evil country that I don't recognize anymore.

It shocks and saddens me.

Posted by: SnorlaxIII | January 21, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

WhoKnows1 said "The majority of the detainees, if given a chance would kill every American they could"

That is factually incorrect.

The great majority of released detainees were innocent and once released, have not engaged in terrorist attacks on the US.

The detainees are SUSPECTS who have been ACCUSED of terrorism. They have not been convicted of any terrorist acts by a US court or military tribunal.

Only 3 out of over 700 Gitmo detainees have actually been brought to trial.

You have your facts wrong. Maybe you should stop listening to Junkie Rush and PervOreilly.

Posted by: SnorlaxIII | January 21, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

It is time, once and for all, to end the unconstitutional military commissions proceedings at Gitmo – they are completely inconsistent with the fundamental tenets of American justice. The Obama administration's new Justice Department must conduct a comprehensive review of all detainee records to determine whether there is any actual evidence of criminal activity. Where there is evidence, the time-tested federal courts are well positioned to accommodate the government's legitimate national security interests without compromising the fundamental rights of defendants. Where there is not, detainees should be repatriated to their home countries or, if there is a risk of torture or abuse, transferred to countries that will accept them. We must restore our treasured values of justice and due process in order to restore an America we can be proud of again. To learn more, visit

Posted by: ACLU | January 21, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

In The Room Where The Giant Fire Puffer Works And The Torutre Never Stops The Torture Never Stops.....

Posted by: hankomatic1 | January 22, 2009 3:43 AM | Report abuse

It always astounds me listening to the libs fighting for the rights of terrorists and their unabashed concern as to whether France, Germany or Sumatra care two licks about the United States. This nonesense filtering now from the very top of government, the oval office, about the "morality" of the United States once more returning to old values is stupid, childlike rhetoric. We are in a war with people who would love to destroy our way of life...armies withhout uniforms...terrorists who kill children and hide behind women or use them as bombers, and the liberal media continues to fuel this silly talk of morality. There are no more moral people on the planet than the peace loving religious peoples of Tibet...and look what morality and kumbyya did for them...crushed by the Chinese hordes. Thank you, Mr. Obama.
You made a wise decision to "study" closing Gitmo....keep the study going for a few more years...the left is happy with your announcement, and I'm happy that those criminals are still in cages.

Posted by: JoeyZ1 | January 24, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

the press babbles on incessently about GITMO and Abu Gharib how so-called shocking etc, etc,etc, yet; the press seems to constantly overlook mentioning that a heinous torture manual confiscated from an al-Qaeda safe house in Iraq, that comes complete with requisite disturbing illustrations on mutilatilating prisoners and inflict as much pain and harm on them as humanly possible in direct violation of every international human rights and POW convention ever howled about by leftards the in entire globe, simply isn’t considered newsworthy by our media.

Meanwhile they want to “hide” the fact that right now Obama seeks to UN-DO all the protection measures Bush put into place against terrorists once AGAIN placing the USA at risk for yet another worse than 911 scenario attack by terrorists.

It is important that WE THE PEOPLE make sure we kick into every lobby group (whom will send them info on whom their representatives/senators are) and we make sure that WE THE PEOPLE let WASH DC KNOW that if they attempt to “shirk” their responsiblity to protect our flag, our seal our allegience and freedoms and Nation that WE THE PEOPLE will make ‘certain’ that they go by way of Balagovich.

Posted by: moonstream1 | January 24, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

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