Free Markets, Free People

New poll – leave GITMO open

In another poll that Democrats will do their best to ignore, the majority in favor of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility for terrorist detainees has melted away.

The significance of the poll isn’t that the majority now favors leaving the facility open – although that certainly has some significance.   Instead, it is found in who has changed their mind about GITMO.  Hint: It isn’t Republicans or Democrats:

Attitudes about the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have changed dramatically since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new national poll.

Support for closing the facility has dropped 12 points over the past 14 months, a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates.

Shortly before Obama’s inauguration, 51 percent of Americans said they thought the facility in Cuba should be closed. Now that number is down to 39 percent, and six in ten believe the United States should continue to operate Guantanamo.

The poll, released Sunday, suggests independent voters are contributing to the 12 point overall drop.

The big change?  Among independents.  75% of independents now want the facility kept open.  Previously it was about a 50-50 split.  That’s a dramatic shift.

CNN, who commissioned the poll, doesn’t advance a reason for the change, but I’d venture to say that many independents have reconsidered their stance when they realized that the claim that GITMO was a recruiting tool for al Qaeda was so much over-blown campaign rhetoric.  That regardless of where the prison is, the fact that we were detaining terrorists is the recruiting tool, not the prison facility itself.  And, with the talk of moving these dangerous inmates to facilities inside the US – bringing a possible threat of terrorism to US communities – they realized the security benefit of keeping the facility off shore.

Not that any of those excellent reasons for leaving Guantanamo open will penetrate the close-minded thinking of those in the administration or anything.  But it is another example of an issue in which independents are deserting the Democrats.



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7 Responses to New poll – leave GITMO open

  • On most issues it’s best to ignore polls.  Our form of Republican government was meant to avoid having mass opinion dictate policy.  That’s why it’s representative rather than direct democracy.   Anyone who says politicians should follow the polls doesn’t understand the fundamental nature of our system of government.   Historically, following polls and mass opinion often leads to disaster.

    • So what you’re saying is only pay attention to the polls when they say what you want?

  • I suspect that the reason for the swing is that there was a lack of discussion regarding the realistic options for relocating the Gitmo detainees.  My impression is that there was an emphasis on whether or not we were detaining non-terrorists who should have been sent home already.  I can recall my mother griping that the US was holding “teens and the elderly” at the compound, as if this represented the majority of the Gitmo detainees.
    Once Obama was in office and had set a deadline, the narrative began to change.  Other nations didn’t want the detainees.  The few nations that did were the ones that we felt would send those “teens and elderly” right back into the thick of terrorist activity.  Talk of bringing them into the US proper brought a NIMBY backlash, and attempts to dump some in the Bahamas met with anger from the UK.  Suddenly, the Gitmo population went from a bunch of ordinary citizens unfairly detained by the Bush administration, to legitimate terror suspects that shouldn’t be allowed to roam free.
    In other words, once we had to walk the walk, the tone of the talk changed considerably.  It’s no surprise that at this point in time, closing Gitmo seems like a scary option, where at one time it was ‘the right thing to do.’

  • Many of the reasons given for the public changing are true, but they also are things people could and should have figured out for themselves already.
    What’s really different is the constant drumbeat in the Old Media stopped.  The Old Media isn’t gone and still have significant influence.

  • Further proof Obama is the uniter he always claimed to be. Problem for him and the left is, he keeps uniting people against his agenda. Eesh, only a fool of the highest order could so quickly turn public opinion the other way on a formerly winning issue.