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
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