July 6th, 2007
03:17 PM ET
4 years ago

Poll: Majority disapprove of the Libby commutation

A majority of Americans disapprove of Libby's commutation, according to a new poll.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A majority of Americans and nearly half of all Republicans disapprove of President Bush’s commutation of Lewis "Scooter" Libby’s 30-month prison sentence, according to a new American Research Group poll out Friday.

Fully 64 percent of all Americans and 69 percent of voters said they disapproved of the commutation in the new poll. Broken down by party affiliation, 76 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of Republicans, and 80 percent of Independents said they disapproved.

Meanwhile, 84 percent of all adults and 84 percent of voters said they oppose a full presidential pardon for Libby. Broken down by party, 82 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Republicans, and 97 percent of Independents oppose a pardon.

Defending his decision to grant Libby clemency, Bush indicated on Tuesday he hasn't ruled out granting the former White House aide a full pardon.

"I made a judgment, a considered judgment, and I believe it's the right decision to make in this case. I stand by it," Bush said. "As to the future, I rule nothing in and nothing out," he said as he left a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center.

Libby's prison time was imposed after a federal court convicted Libby of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators in the probe of the leak of the name of a CIA operative.

A commutation is distinct from a pardon, which is a complete eradication of a conviction record and makes it the same as if the person has never been convicted.

The poll, conducted on July 3-5, interviewed 1,100 adults and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

– CNN Political Researcher Xuan Thai


Filed under: Scooter Libby
soundoff (87 Responses)
  1. Xavier, Las Flores, California

    If you really want to be honest with the readers about these polls, you must include the exact question and the sequence of questions you ask because you can easily frame the question in such a way to have a desired answer. All news outlets have their bias, CNN included. In order to remove that suspicion among people like myself you should include that additional information about the questions espcially in the political climate we are in these days. Otherwise such poll results have no meaning.

    July 6, 2007 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Ashen Shard, Chambersburg, PA

    Comparing the number of pardons is, as the cliche goes, like comparing apples and oranges. If you want to make comparisons, look at time served. If I am not mistaken, those Clinton pardoned served at least part, most or all of their jail/prison term. Libby has served nothing.
    Also, the most connection any of those Clinton pardoned was either they were friends, or his brother. They were not part of a crime possibly committed by the administration.
    Libby was convicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges because he was directly involved and helped to cover the criminality of those higher up in the administration.
    Anyway, saying 'Clinton did it too' is one of the most childish positions which I thought our mothers always admonished us for. If Clinton jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?

    July 6, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. Rainman, L.A.

    You freakin' liberals are a hoot. No matter what action was taken by Bush, you coneheads would be bellyachin'. If he hadn't commuted the sentence then you would have said he wasn't loyal and abandoned one of his supporters. Give me and the president a break, how about it.

    July 6, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. D. Redmond, Duluth Georgia

    To restore Honor and Dignity to the White House. These were the words used by President Bush in the 2000 election.
    Scotter Libby lied to Federal Courts and little wonder that the American people as well as his own party has turned against the President.

    July 6, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. Tempe, Az

    God help us when so many of our fellow Americans can not see the damage this administration has done to our constitiutional rights, out freedoms and our goverment. The smoke and mirrors of deception and point the finger at previous administrations to cover their own shame and guilt is getting old. Those of you that don't see that, shame. Those who still support the incompetence and corrupt practices that run through this administration from top to bottom are in fear of admitting the error of your ways. It is so sad that it will take more life than I have left to correct the damage done to our national reputation and I will never see America respected in the world as the leader it was before Bush, ever again.

    July 6, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. David Jansen Westmont, NJ

    A MAJORITY of Americans don't know who the heck Scooter Libby is for crying out loud. It's not even close. Please stop reporting the agenda polls, and go out into the field and do some actual journalism.

    July 6, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Waaaaah but Clinton did it tooooooooo waaaaaaaah!

    Guess what? Bush I pardoned 6 officials in the Iran Contra Scandal.

    http://www.bartcop.com/pardon.htm#article

    "Six years after the arms-for-hostages scandal began to cast a shadow that would darken two Administrations, President Bush today granted full pardons to six former officials in Ronald Reagan's Administration, including former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger."

    So just to recap, for the partisan right wing hysterics out there:

    Bush pardoning/commuting the sentence of his own underling who was lying to protect the white house: OK!

    Bush Sr. pardoning political officials in Iran Contra: What's Iran Contra?? what he's a Republican?? – OK!

    Clinton Pardoning a man whose EX-WIFE made contributions to the democratic party: Oh the HORROR!

    Is this the best you guys can do? It's no wonder you all are in 28%ville.

    July 6, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Ibara, Kahului, Hawaii

    Problem...misuse of the Presidential pardon. Misuse has been going on for many years and people just complain and do nothing. Abolish this privilege and this will stop any future abuse of this priviledge forever.

    July 6, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Libby was sentenced by a Bush appointed federal judge and convincted by a jury.

    Obstruction of justice to protect his boss, Richard Cheney.

    Yes Libby should be out...and replaced by Dick Cheney in jail instead.

    Feels like Watergate and Nixon all over again – considering Cheney worked for Nixon himself.

    July 6, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Marc, KCK

    Why didn't this blogger post the rest of todays polls. Apparently, a majority of voters now favor impeachment of Cheney according to the same polling firm. Nice to see the liberal media neglecting to publish this little factoid.

    July 6, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Miranda, Modesto, CA

    I can't seem to understand why these politicians are able to get away with dishonesty and putting our American people at risk everyday. At what point should the president be in peached? Why is this taking so long. It didn't take long for politicians to get Clinton out of office. Why must we be put through these obsticals everyday that we wake up. It's either on t.v or in person. I think that the president has a control issue and he needs someone to put a mirror in his face for him to face true and real life facts. He is only hurting the American people in no way is he helping on any issue. Why is it so hard for the American people to get together, stand up for what is right. Politicians can't take away our dignaty or our rights that were put in place before they were put in the hot seat.

    July 6, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Kevin, Cambridge Ohio

    I believe that more polls from a variety of pollsters should be done before making a statement on what people wanted. One pollster's results just doesn't offer enough accuracy on the true results of the population's thoughts. Could the American Research Group be biased?

    July 6, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Mary Ann Watt, Dallas Texas

    I am ashamed of Bush commuting this sentence. What more can I say. If Paris and Martha go to jail for crimes, big or small, Libby should do his time also. I am ashamed of those people.

    July 6, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Kevin Robbins, Indianapolis, Indiana.

    Libby repeatedly lied to a federal grand jury. He constantly committed perjury. That is a crime. He did so knowingly, consciously, and clearly with the intent to subvert the course of true justice and save the sorry asses of his employers, President Cheney and *Vice*-President Bush. This is a corrupt, entirely immoral administration that hypocritically hides behind the myths of religion in a sorry attempt to cover up its total incompetence at home and in foreign policy. In *Vice*-President Bush we have a former drug abuser and former alcoholic. He was a chicken-hawk draft-dodger who spent more time in his so-called "National Guard" days patrolling the whorehouses of New Orleans than the skies of Texas. He is a serial adulterer (just like his daddy) and a two-time bankrupt in the Texas oil business (no mean feat if your name happens to be "Bush." This sorry excuse for a human being needs every lying, blind loyalist he can get. The good news is that even die-hard Republicans are beginning to recognize the utter shamelessness and hypocracy of this corrupt and totally incompetent administration. No doubt they see the handwriting on the wall. Bush's extraordinary ability to screw up everything he does will ruin Republican electoral chances for years as it has already turned the nation, left and right, away from his crude, always self-serving behaviors: blind religious faith, know-nothing anti-science stances, subservience to the corrupt military/industrial corporate welfare complex, and devotion to cheap illegal immigrant labor to keep the rich Republican bosses happy. The [times they are a'changin'. Thanks to the runt of the Bush litter.

    July 6, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. Jayson, Yuba City, CA

    Too many people on this issue have their heads stuck in the sand.

    Clinton caused more damage in his abuse of the power of pardons then one pardon by Bush could ever accomplish. Clinton bias towards the person who benefited was far more clearer. Come on he pardoned his idiot brother. Their was no common good of the United States taken into account for that crap.

    It is something that needs to be re-written because Clinton has done a fine job at showing how open to abuse it is. When someone you pardoned turns around and donates money to your presidential library something is wrong.

    Also the complaints about the liberal media not doing enough are laughable. Bush at least had the sense to not let Libby completely off the hook and only commuted his sentence. He hasn't pardoned hundreds of people who got what they deserved.

    July 6, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. Ken

    That CNN and the Clintons' (and any democrat)are outraged over the Libby commutation is outrageous and the epitome of hypocrisy considering the commutations Clinton gave out, I don't want to hear it any more!

    July 6, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Richard Duvigneaud Sebring, FL

    I feel that President Bush lied when he said that he would fire anyone convicted of leaking secrets to the media. Commutation of Libby is ridiculous while our border agents sit in prison for enforcing the border laws. Shame on George W Bush.

    July 6, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. bargarh,India

    I'll always hate U.S president!!!

    –bargarh

    July 6, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Don Cannon, Seattle, WA

    First up, CNN has reported on the entire Plame affair with bias against the Republican perspective. No crime was ever committed, right? And the prosecutor knew the answer to the question he was sworn to learn long before he questioned Scooter Libby - who didn't feel it was necessary to take the fifth. After that long term, consistent bias I would be very surprised if a poll returned different results. Your own bias had much to do with that poll's result.

    July 6, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. Tim Janssen, Palm Springs, CA

    I used to do phone surveys of voters in California and you would be astounded how ignorant most people are of the most basic facts about any current event. I'll bet a majority of Americans have no idea where the capital of the United States is located, let alone whether or not someone should have had a perjury sentence commuted. Check out the list of most popular stories on CNN. We're asking people who actually waste time reading about Paris Hilton and Britney Spears what they think about Scooter Libby? Come on!

    July 6, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Joe, San Francisco, CA

    As insightful as polls such as this are, they're meaningless. American can disapprove of Mr. Bush's unethical conduct, but Mr. Bush doesn't care.

    July 6, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Jennifer, Huntington Beach, CA

    How can anyone be surprised that this happened? How can we expect anything less from Bush? He lied taking us in to the biggest disaster in U.S. foreign policy and causing mass causalities of our own people and people across the globe. And we wonder why we are fighting terrorism? I hope that all that voted for Bush are now reaping in this havoc that he causing our country and our Constitution. He is a shame, he has ruined our country and what it was founded for and upon. He is a disgrace and will go down in history as the WORST American President ever! Let's stand together for change in 2008...VOTE!

    July 6, 2007 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. Steve, Cambridge, NE

    Let's roll back polls and look at Kennedy 's driving off a bridge with no charges, Clinton's zipper malfunction. How short liberal memories.

    July 6, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. rob thompson azle texas

    yea but whom are you polling your lib friends?? try calling some real americans!!!! Not those dems that
    don't have a clue !!

    Rob Thompson

    July 6, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. mike denver

    I dont agree with anybody getting pardoned, no matter who the President is, but I will not stand up for a President who lied about this war & got thousands of innocent killed. If anybody should go to prison it should be Bush.

    July 6, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
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