March 29th, 2010
10:18 AM ET
5 years ago

CNN Poll: Big shift on closing of Guantanamo Bay facility

Attitudes about the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have changed dramatically since President Barack Obama took office.
Attitudes about the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have changed dramatically since President Barack Obama took office.

Washington (CNN) - 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.

"Just Democrats still think that Guantanamo should be closed, but Independents have completely changed - from an even split in January 2009 to three-quarters who want to keep the facility open today," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

More than three out of four Republicans questioned in the poll think that the facility should stay open.

Upon taking office in January 2009, President Obama said he intended to shut down the controversial detention facility in a year. That deadline has slipped, with no specific date announced for closing Guantanamo.

"I believe we're going to get there, but it's complicated," White House senior adviser David Axelrod told CNN's Candy Crowley Sunday on "State of the Union," adding that there has been progress toward closing the facility.

Since 2001, the United States has used the facility to detain suspected terrorists from other countries.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted March 19-21, with 1,030 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN poll • Guantanamo Bay • Popular Posts
soundoff (97 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    It doesn't take a genius to see that this poll has cooked numbers. 75% Republicans? Come on!!!

    March 29, 2010 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  2. Ancient Texan

    I join the 60% that thinks it should remain open. It serves a very worthwhile purpose and should be the site of the trials by military tribunals.

    March 29, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  3. Blutarski

    I guess its easy to criticize a policy when you are not in charge. Evidently, once you are in control and have to make difficult decisions, you realize the job of being President is a lot harder than it looks. Your doing great, though Mr. President, keeping the Bush policies alive.

    March 29, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  4. jp,michigan

    Do you honestly think, the American people want terrorist on our shores? Do you honestly think, Obama administration cares what the American people think? This administration and co-conspritors onthe Hill do not care what the American People want or think. For some reason, they have placed themselves as the sole voice of what is best for the American people. Some would call their actions marxist, socialistic.

    March 29, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    For me it was about the torture. Now that we are not torturing the prison there is no worse than elsewhere. It is not a front burner issue for me. He has three or hopefully seven ore years to get it closed.

    March 29, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  6. Right Leaning Independent

    The shft is a result of the mainstream media that has stopped their daily assaults on the Guantanomo! During the Bush years, they were always printing stories about how it was unconstitutional or the reason the world hated us! Either they have gotten smart(which I doubt) and now realize the benefits of such a place or they are quiet to help prop up the approval ratings of their savior Obama!

    March 29, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  7. cjl

    Whoops. Finally the truth comes out.

    March 29, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  8. rob

    Look for the Obama Administration to do a U turn on this now because of the polls. The Dems used Gitmo to bash Bush for years as a political weapon knowing full well that it was justified and needed in this War. Now that the public knows what the Administrations alternatives are, not only don't they like them but they see the utter ridiculousness of it.

    The Bush Administration used the best option available to them and it turns out it was the right policy. Again and again the Dems are forced to back track from their purly political stances when they weren't in power and follow almost exactly the Bush Administration's policies on the "War on Terror". Maybe someone on this board would like to try to argue this point?

    Nov 2, 2010 can't come fast enough.

    March 29, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  9. Willy Brown

    Barry may want to call President Bush for some leadership training.

    March 29, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  10. ATL Guy

    How can you lead people who can't dedicate themselves to anything? They wanted healthcare then they didn't want it. They wanted to close Guantanamo then they didn't want too. American's are shortsighted and just plain stupid.

    March 29, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  11. phoenix86

    Obama and the democrats did NOT CARE what the American people wanted when it came to healthcare. I do not think Obama will care what the American people think when it comes to Gitmo.

    One and done. Get this bozo out of the WH in 2012.

    March 29, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. Sniffit

    just because Owebama is president the little obamabots who were brainwashed in november 2008 will now follow the policy of the bush administration................

    well, I guess its different being president than campaigning for president, isn't it barry?

    however, what will the world think of us if it is not closed?
    how is this change?..............its an ugly world out there and there are not any easy answers..........i guess Bush had a lot right after all

    and you know it america

    March 29, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Jim

    I don't understand what useful purpose guantanamo performs. near as i can tell, it only provides an excuse to maintain a military base in cuba. it seems profoundly uneconomical and those republicans seem to go on and on about money wasting being bad, yet they want this money pit kept open.

    March 29, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  14. Shut It Down

    This facility is still used as a propaganda machine by Al-Queda to recruit. Shut it down!!!

    March 29, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  15. Blutarski

    His self imposed deadline was January of 2010 for closure of the base. Hmmm, what happened? A little reality creep in there. . . just a little. . .crept right in there. . . that little dose of reality. . .hmm?

    Where are all the cries of "charge them or let them go" which were heard when Bush was in charge of the base? Where, I wonder? Just not important enough anymore, I guess.

    March 29, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Gary

    It serves no purpose other than recruiting more young people to radical anti-American movements. The American people are afraid that terrorists will be walking the streets of the U.S.if they are tried in the U.S. or put in maximum prisons here. In fact, we have always believed that everyone is entitled to a trial (even Nazis) and our maximum prisons have never had any escapes. Guantanamo stands for values that are un-American. But, politicians have used fear for political gain and have ended up supporting our enemies.

    March 29, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. Bill

    The fear and obstructionism party wins! Let's hear it for the complete and utter death of habeas corpus, hooray! Nice going "America"!

    March 29, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. Gil

    Polls are interesting, but when you look at the pictures and hear the horror stories of Gitmo, polls mean nothing. Gitmo is probably the biggest catalist to creating and recruiting more terrorists than any other factor. So many held for 8-9 years of their lives without trials and some probably innocent. We have released hundreds after 5-7 years after no charges could be brought. Some went and joined or re-joined their terror groups and I would too if that much of my life had been stolen from me. Close Gitmo and the heck with polls in this case!.

    March 29, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  19. Wisdom

    It appears that the ugly angry and vile response we are seeing play out over the health care bill is what I call "the unconscious, racist subconscious of white America" It an attitude it seems that some of them themselves don't even realize is buried deep in the physiological makeup.

    March 29, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  20. Dano

    Now that the US is no longer torturing prisoners it's a bit more palatable to Americans to have suspected terrorists locked up at Guantanamo than it was during the dark years of Bush/Cheney.

    March 29, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  21. AJ

    I certainly hope that Americans have the same reaction when American citizens are held indefinitely in foreign countries without being charged with a crime and with no legal representation.

    March 29, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. j

    I think it should be closed. It's existence tarnishes the American image at home and abroad.

    March 29, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  23. Tim

    Well, duh!

    It's incredible that 39% of the country is still deliusional, including our "leader".

    March 29, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  24. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Fear from the Fox network is working. Gitmo needs to be closed. I hope congress will do the right thing and get it done.

    March 29, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  25. Annie, Atlanta

    Looks like the Cheneys and Fox News, along with several Republican members of congress, have done their jobs well. I wonder when the rest of the media will do their jobs and counter the right wing lies before they destroy us.

    Our overwhelming ignorance of current event facts, considering all the news sources at our disposal, is astounding and dangerous.

    March 29, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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