July 6th, 2007
03:17 PM ET
3 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. Anthony Ravenell, Antioch, TN

    I don't believe that it is in the best interest of the country to allow for Mr. Libby sentence to be commuted. President Bush and Darth Vader Chenney has showed throughout his administration that they both have a high disregard for the law by their actions related to enemy prisoners and the ease dropping decisions. I will be one voter who will be glad when this administration is gone from office. Good riddance!

    July 6, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Rachell, Nashville, TN

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

    Yeah! A pox on your scientific polling data! Don't you know the polls only count if they support the republican talking points??

    July 6, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. Donna Sims

    I think Scooter Libby should be pardoned. President Bush took the first step. I believe he is waiting for the appeal process to take its course. This was a witch hunt from day 1. When it was revealed that Armitage was the source that leaked Valerie's name, it should have stopped right there and gone no further. This was a waste of the taxpayer's money and has got to stop. Congress spends the majority of their time slinging mud, conducting investigations, issuing subpoenas ....and stonewalling when it comes to passing a budget to support the war and our men and women over seas. I had high hopes when Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, but she and Harry Reid quickly shot their wad with me with their venomous insults and total disrespect for the President of our country – absolutely no class whatsoever.

    Libby was a fall guy and he should be pardoned.

    July 6, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. Don , Archer, Fl

    Although Wm H. Vanderbilt is said to have originated the phrase "the public be damned", I think history should be re-writtent to show that Geo. W. Bush really originated it.

    July 6, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Donna Sims, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

    I just sent a comment and was putting my name – Donna Sims, my city which did not get posted is Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

    Libby should be pardoned.

    July 6, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  6. Richard M. Warnick, Draper, Utah

    The same poll indicates 54% of Americans want Congress to impeach Vice President Cheney and 45% want President Bush impeached. Is CNN going to mention this? It's big news everywhere else.

    July 6, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. Rob, Jim Thorpe, PA

    Regardless of whether one aspires to be a right "wing nut" or a "lefty" liberal... the reality is the damage being caused to this nation by this self serving oil barron-esque administration leaves us all in great danger. It's rather apparent that Libby lied to protect Cheney knowing Bush would let him off, the deal with the devil was made long ago. In the meantime, as we approach nearly 4000 dead American soldiers, with tens of thousands forever damaged physically and emotionally and our tax dollars in the hundreds of billions going to secure the biggest oil heist in history, this administration continues to divide this nation with its power grab for the rich and richer. Oil companies gouging us at the pumps while we spend billions of tax dollars to secure the oil fields so they can laugh all the way to the bank for decades to come. Yet, the loyal sheep who would rather shout about party affiliation or the "war on terra" or what Clinton did or...can you believe, what Ted Kennedy did 40 yeares ago, fail to realize that they are one paycheck from the poor house while these well connected cronies bankrupt our country and bastardize our constitution.
    The fox is in the hen house.

    July 6, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  8. Pete, Tarpon Springs, FL

    Shock and Aw is what these post’s are to me. Quit attacking each other and look at the facts. Don’t accept the interpretation of them from one source alone read and learn before you spout your partisan nonsense.

    Who cares what Nixon, Clinton or any other President did. That time is gone and will not come back. Don’t use those deeds to absolve the crime of today. What we have to do is learn from history so not to repeat the errors of our past.

    Be a democrat, be a republican or an independent, but please first and foremost be an AMERICAN and make AMERICA your priority.

    “WE THE PEOPLE”

    July 6, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. praf

    We have a group of idoits who are corrupted by power in the white house.This is a soft version of dictatorship,disregarding ethics and laws, as long as they can put spin on their conduct

    July 6, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. John, Hudson, Ohio

    How about a poll on if it was right for Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary to accept money for pardoning numerous criminals?

    Besides!!! A CIA agent was NOT outed by Libby or Bush. There was NO crime committed. Here's a good poll, do you think the money Fitzgerald spent prosecuting Libby for lying about a non-crime was a huge excess waste of time and money?

    July 6, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. Jan, Nashua, NH

    Why do Republicants keep telling the rest of us that no one cares about this matter?

    There is a cover-up in the White House over lies regarding yellowcake being sought in Africa and it's no big deal?!!?

    And as far as the Republicant meme that Dick Armitage was the first to leak...? How do you know that?

    Certainly not from Patrick Fitzgerald.
    Unlike Ken Starr, he doesn't leak his case to Fox news.

    It appears to most of us who aren't Loyal bushies that, first, Dick Cheney told Scooter Libby to tell Judith Miller. However, Libby refuses to admit that. Thus, we have perjury and obstruction of justice regarding the outing a covert CIA operative by a senior official in then White House.

    Is that REALLY okay with Republicants these days? Gosh, I hope not.

    July 6, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. Glenn,Birmingham,Al

    I think we need to take the pardon power away from Presidents. I went back & studied other administrations to be fair to Bush. Its down right scary, both parties, are giving friends family & money donators a get out of jail free past. They do not need to be trusted with let the courts decide

    July 6, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Daniel, Richmond, VA

    Bush uses Libby to attack a dissenting critic of the disastrous war in Iraq by committing treason and then keeps him out of prison. I believe James Madison and George Mason both wrote about the pardoning of crimes which the President advised upon.

    Can we impeach yet?

    July 6, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  14. Doug, Sioux City, IA

    I find it to be an ultimately ironic decision to make. "Too harsh?" This from the same staunch advocate of the death penalty. Did any of those executed Americans receive "too harsh" a sentence? Ahhh too late.

    July 6, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. C.Winston

    You people keep talking about ex- Pres.Clinton given pardons. I believe those were done at the end of his presidency. Mr. Bush started that crazy war . And this man was sitting on his cabinet. And to give leaking information as he did. Yes he should SERVE time. He's not the only one up there thats guilty . That awful president needs to be prosecuted for starting a war, for which was a personal vendetta with his family and Sadaam...

    July 6, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. Tom, Scottsdale AZ

    Frankly, you all sound like idiots. Congressional members of both parties fancy themselves as the social elite and demand that a different set of rules apply to them. While we (Dems and Repubs)all spend our time trashing each other on these blogs, they are voting themselves pay raises.

    Wake up. This conversation should be focused on how both parties have completely abandoned the fact that this is supposed to be a "representative democracy". All of this political grandstanding is simply a way for members of each party to maintain their position of power, and to be their to "help" the little guy.

    July 6, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  17. Elliot, Fredericksburg, VA

    All the discussions about Clinton and his pardons are tiresome. If I remember correctly, and I do, Republicans and conservatives were up-in-arms about Clinton's pardons, now all we here is "What about Clinton's pardons...?" Well if Clinton was wrong then, so now is Bush, plain and simple. The difference however is that Clinton's pardons were not about official conduct of those in his administration. Bush's commutation, and, I am sure, eventual pardon of Libby has to do with official conduct of a member of the administration in covering up the breaking of the law for cynical political purposes. We all seem to forget that the outing of Plame had to do with her husband's criticism of the motive given by the administration for the war in Iraq. Joe Wilson was correct and unfortunately our young servicemen and women and their families are paying a terrible price for the lies perpetrated by the Bush/Cheney administration. This administration will stop at nothing to accomplish its goals through barely legal or illegal means and when they do not like the law they either ignore it or rewrite it. This administration is doing more damage than any other to the office of the presidency, America's standing in the world, citizens faith in our government, etc., etc. It will take years to undo this mess.

    July 6, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. Mark, San Jose, CA

    The President Using powers mistakenly given to the President as the trigger for pusing for impeachment???? Man some people are dumb as a box as rocks

    Go read the Constitution because that is what this country was established on. And while your at it read the Federalist papers because ignorance in this case should not be bliss

    July 6, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  19. Jeff C, San Francisco

    "Two wrongs make a right" seems to be a popular argument here.

    Just a thought for those who are seeing continuities in the abuse of presidential power by recent administrations: doesn't that mean it would be in America's interest to limit arbitrary presidential powers, regardless of party?

    Some of those who are now pleased to give the executive branch unlimited power and no oversight may not be so happy when that power is handed over to a Democrat in 2008.

    July 6, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. Cory, Hammond, LA

    The President should not have the power to just get rid of a prison term or conviction. Libby broke the law, but so have Bush and Cheney. Laws mean nothing to the people in power. It is truly an embarrassing time to be an American.

    July 6, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca

    Typical comment seen: "...blah blah LIED..blah blah...WORST EVER..blah blah...IMPEACH NOW"

    IF the case (as many of your decry) of impeachment is so cemented against President Bush, WHY hasn't the democratically controlled House AND Senate taken any steps? Either 1) they are too afraid, 2) they are incompetent, or 3) there IS NO CASE – just the rantings of frustrated liberals.

    I suspect D. All of the Above is the correct answer.

    July 6, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. Steven V. Brentwood, CA

    Think about these facts...

    Pardons and Commutations

    George W. Bush (2001 – )
    Pardons - 13
    Commutations - 4

    Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
    Pardons - 396
    Commutations - 61

    George H.W. Bush (1989-1993)
    Pardons - 74
    Commutations: 3

    Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
    Pardons - 393
    Commutations - 13

    Jimmy Carter (1977-1981)
    Pardons - 534
    Commutations - 29

    Gerald Ford (1974-1977)
    Pardons - 382
    Commutations - 22

    Richard Nixon (1969-1974)
    Pardons - 863
    Commutations - 60

    Lyndon Johnson (1963-1969)
    Pardons - 960
    Commutations - 226

    John F. Kennedy (1961-1963)
    Pardons - 472
    Commutations - 100

    Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961)
    Pardons - 1,110
    Commutations - 47

    Harry Truman (1945-1953)
    Pardons - 1,913
    Commutations - 118

    July 6, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  23. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    I totally agree with Xavier. What were the exact questions and in what order? Polls without that information are the tools of political bias media.

    July 6, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Simple question my liberal friends and please try and answer with no mention of Bush, Rove or Cheney:

    If this was such a major deal outing this "supposed" CIA operative, why are we not prosecuting the man (who is NO FRIEND of Bush) Richard Armitage who admitted that he was the one that dropped her name?

    Simple question.

    July 6, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  25. Keven Seattle Washington

    Uh, Jon,

    Hey!

    Jon...

    Earth to Jon...

    4) The Dems cannot muster a supermajority to overcome either veto or filibuster by the R's.

    You need to go back and actually pass civics 101.

    July 6, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
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