Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

WTF? Americans Want Gitmo to Stay Open?


WASHINGTON — Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to closing the detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and moving some of the detainees to prisons on U.S. soil, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

By more than 2-1, those surveyed say Guantanamo shouldn’t be closed. By more than 3-1, they oppose moving some of the accused terrorists housed there to prisons in their own states.

The findings underscore the difficult task President Obama faces in convincing those at home that he should follow through on his campaign promise to close the prison in Cuba, especially in the absence of a plan of where the prisoners would go.

It is one of the few subjects on which most Americans side with the views of the Bush administration over its successor.

If this isn’t proof the American people are incredible fickle about issues, then I don’t know what is.

Did the Senate know something the President didn’t?

I was surprised to see that polling previous to this showed that the public did not support closing Gitmo;

A CBS poll in February that asked;

“As you may know, for the past seven years the United States has been holding a number of suspected terrorists at a U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the U.S. should continue to operate the prison, or do you think the U.S. should close the prison and transfer the prisoners somewhere else?”

showed that 46% thought Gitmo should remain open, while 44% thought it should be closed. Only 4% believed closing it would make us safer.

A Gallup poll in January;

“Do you think the United States should or should not close the prison at the Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba?”

Should- 35%

Should Not- 45%

Unsure- 20%

But a CNN poll in January said;

“As you may know, since 2001, the United States has held people from other countries who are suspected of being terrorists at a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the U.S. should continue to operate this facility or do you think the U.S. should close this facility and transfer the prisoners to other facilities?”

Continue to Operate- 47%

Transfer the Prisoners- 51%

Unsure- 2%

So why did the public suddenly turn wildly against closing Gitmo? The President supports it, General Petreaus supports it, Secretary Gates supports it. Obama is incredibly popular, the Senate and Dick Cheney are not, why is the public buying their crap?


  1. and I’ll say it again. You shouldn’t read too much into any single poll. As you show in the diary, this poll is a clear outlier. There could be a number of reasons why it doesn’t come close to the other polls. Only one of those reasons would be that it is right and the others are wrong.

    I wonder what people would answer to a question posed as, “General David Petraeus has said the prison at Guantanamo has hurt U.S. interests and should be closed. Do you agree with him or do you think the prison should stay open?”

  2. HappyinVT

    saying the detainees shouldn’t be moved to the states, people are going to get nervous.  On top of that, the FBI Director testified a couple/three weeks ago that the prisons housing the detainees could become targets for terrorist attacks by those seeking to release their brethren.

    Obama is facing an uphill battle with this.  I thought he did a pretty good job in his speech the other week but I doubt most folks even know he gave such speech.  It does appear that he is going to stick to his guns on this issue, though.

    Finally, does Obama get final say on the use of federal prisons?  Or does Congress get some official action?

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