January 21st, 2009
05:33 PM ET
9 months ago

CNN Poll: Americans split on closing Guantanamo Bay prison

A detainee is seen through a fence in July at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A detainee is seen through a fence in July at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new national poll suggests Americans are split over whether the U.S. should close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay. But the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Wednesday indicated that support for closing the detention facility has increased dramatically since 2005.

Fifty-one percent of those questioned in the survey support the closing of prison at Guantanamo Bay, with 47 percent against the closing. That's basically a split, when taking into account the survey's sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

But the 51 percent who support the closing of the facility is a 15 point increase from 2005, when 36 percent polled backed the shutting down of prison at Guantanamo Bay. The 47 percent who are against the closing is down 11 points from 2005, when 58 percent opposed closing the facility.

The poll's release comes as CNN has learned that President Obama is planning to issue three executive orders on Thursday that would show a clean break from the Bush administration on the war on terror, including one demanding that the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay be closed within one year, according to a senior administration official and a congressional aide.

Since 2001, the U.S. has held foreign terrorist suspects at the detention facility. The prison became a lightning rod for critics who charged that the Bush administration had used torture on terror detainees. Former President Bush and other senior officials repeatedly denied that the U.S. government had used torture to coax intelligence out of terror suspects.


Filed under: CNN poll • Guantanamo Bay
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. Chris n' NC

    When Islamic extremists scare us into eroding our personal freedoms so we feel safer, then they win. The current struggle against Islamo-facism isn't about defeating them on the battlefield, it's about having better ideals than they do.

    Close Gitmo, it's a PR disaster that does nothing positve for our security - it actually creates extremists. Just ask any Muslim that was put in there by mistake and left as a America-hating insurgent

    January 21, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  2. Dwayne

    I thought a person was innocent until proven guilty? these men being held at Gitmo need to #1 be charged #2 have their day in court # 3 be convicted in a court of law or be let go.

    January 21, 2009 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  3. Maloney122

    I guess all of you opposed to GITMO were in such a stupor on Monday caused by the anticipating of watching THE ONE be inaugurated that you missed the news that day that down at GITMO, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed proclaimed his pride in his involvement in killing AMERICANS on 9/11. Do you all remember 9/11? Do you think that these prisoners down at GITMO are innocent & misunderstood? THEY ARE DANGEROUS... but let OBAMA free them, let them out to come back and attack America– then you can blame George Bush for it.

    January 21, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  4. Mike

    to keep gitmo open,

    do you really think you have facts the president of the united states doesn't know about?

    January 21, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  5. Paul G

    Since when is the law determined by public opinion polls?

    Guantanimo is an illegal operation. It needs to be closed.

    January 21, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  6. Judith

    I find it strange that so many people think there is no evidence to detain enemy combatants. This facility is housing some very dangerous people and several that have been released have already returned to terrorist organizations.

    January 21, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  7. chris

    that place is like a 21st century concentration camp in the eyes of the world and needs to be closed. There are laws to deal with these people and I for one am grateful we still use the death penalty. It was never meant to be a deterrent, just a consequence for ones action.

    January 21, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  8. Dick c.

    Let's put them next door to Chris from NY.....

    Large Dick Chaney

    January 22, 2009 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
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