March 29th, 2010
10:18 AM ET
4 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. Lee Matthews

    Why would anyone want to keep high value detainees(high value to insurgents as well) on US soil. All that does is put civilians at risk. If guantanomo did not exist, it would be invented because it is a good idea.

    March 29, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice.

    We've turned into wishy-washy, whiny, spoiled pussie-brats.

    No longer do we recognize what is good for us. Our moral compass is broken. We have no idea what the hell we stand for, and we turn on those that try to bring us out of the decay we've been living in for decades. Yet praise the clueless, selfish, and greedy rabble-rousers.

    America....go re-discover yourself. You're in deep doo-doo when you can't tell right from wrong due to blinding hatred.

    March 29, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Yahbut

    How interesting.
    I wonder if this change in attitude is due to the fact that people are being to wonder about Obama himself?

    March 29, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Brian

    Any person with a brain understands Gitmo is the perfect place to house these enemy combatants. Liberals moere concerned about Eupropean sensabilites than American lives are the only people beating the close Gitmo drum.

    P.S. wasn't the Obamamessiah supposed to get this done day one? I think a lot of people in this country owe GWB apologies.

    March 29, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. mother in Pa

    Maybe americans now understand these men are enemy combatants, not a term recognized by the current administration, if brought to our country for trial or imprisonment they are "entitled" to the rights of our citizens, and if released, the recidivism for terroristic acts is high. These men injured and tortured my son and killed his friends. They do not deserve the rights of an american! They are terrorists plain and simple and we cannot rehabilitate what their culture has ingrained.

    March 29, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. HypocriCNNstigators

    Here Goes Keating Holland And The Rest Of The Fools At HypocriCNNation Trying To Sell Their Opinions As Fact. FACT: It The Presidents Decision To Close Gitmo, Not Some Unscientific Cable News (Noise) Poll!

    March 29, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. Pat F

    Wow, that "America is the devil" kool-aid is wearing off in a big hurry. You can't fool Americans forever.

    Barry's favorite terrorist, Bill Ayres, does not, contrary to the current Democratic platform, represent a majority American viewpoint.

    March 29, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  8. MikeH

    CNN having had it's last poll on health reform exposed as fraudulent, CNN now tries to attack Obama with this poll, while fanning the flames of sedition by pandering to those who incite attacks on the democratic process.

    Been noticing highly unfavorable trends of opinions of the Republican Party in the ticker posts. Also noticing CNN not posting, or having up to 12-hour delays before posting comments on some of the articles where the Republicans get 90%+ negative opinions.

    How's that tacit support for the Republicans working for you CNN?

    March 29, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Mixed Bag

    I wonder if the White House will listen to what the public is saying about the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo, or whether they'll simply ignore the American people the way they did with health care reform. No matter...the public will have it's say in November.

    The coming mid-term elections will provide a metaphorical 2×4 to the thick skulls of clueless Congressional Democrats. It'll be nice to finally have their attention...

    March 29, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  10. gt

    these people are terrorist and would love to kill every american,,,,keep them there and throw away the key...

    March 29, 2010 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. John

    I wouldn't close it, just continue to make sure it is run properly as recently. The whole issue is just some geography and a political point game; the place is perfect for terrorists/enemies. Closing it wouldn't mean one thing to the likes of Al Qaeda etc. Does anybody really believe they care "where" we hold their prisoners, it wouldn't change a thing; and in fact I think moving them to the mainland would just create more risk of some terrorist act stateside near where they are kept for propaganda purposes if nothing else.
    Heck, I even think we should send some of our worst criminals from here to Gitmo to help with prison over-crowding.

    March 29, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. Blink

    Another moronic idea and pathetic use of resouces by BHO. Since he doesn't care what a majority of us think I doubt it will matter. He better ram all the trash he can through before November.

    March 29, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Vet.

    The polls have drop for Gitmo closing because one thing the Repug are expert at, fear,doom, gloom, misinformation and out right lies which is taken as truth by the small uneducated monority that these so call polls only poll.

    March 29, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. vs

    Fear and bigotry are emotions that much easier to transfer and appeal to, than reason that leads to clear thinking. Fear makes the best of us succumb to thinking and acting in ways that are not only morally wrong but illegal, because it taps into a primal survival emotion. Republicans, I must admit, are masters in the art of pandering to these baser qualities in us, and this poll is a reflection of it. History tells us that the most horrific and egregious acts that have occured in the past, were done by, or with the tacit approval of "normal" "decent" people, who fell in the fear/hatred/bigotry trap. In this information age if we continue to allow ourselves to be manipulated then we have no one else to blame. People generally end up in getting the government/political structure they deserve.I hope we deserve better.

    March 29, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Joe

    It is beyond any comprehension and ratinales for OBAMA to move terrorists inside the USA, anywhere. Whom does he want to please, American people or Islamic terrorists? The problem for OBAMA's silly plan is that the overwhelm majority of American people do not want to move the terrorists to the south or north side of Chicago. Terrorists should stay where they are supposed to be kept.

    March 29, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. T'SAH from Virginia

    I guess it's the same Independents who "followed the so-called RepubliCAN'Ts" on Health Care!! This proves that they are NOT really looking at the ISSUE – they're looking at the FLOW of the "obstructionist". This will change as the Health Care message gets "uncorrupted" and people begin to realize that what they were hearing were LIES!

    Why don't you take your polls in two-fold – Do you want the Guantanamo Bay facility to close? If so, WHY (without a dropdown suggested WHY). No, that would take too long to count but it would be much more accurate!!

    March 29, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Don't Fall For The Okie Doke

    Do the right thing Mr. President.

    On the list of the Top Ten things that matter to the People

    The opening or closing of Guantanimo's prison is number 15.

    March 29, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. notfooledbydistractions

    I guess incessant and irrational fearmongering works. Score one for the republican/fox propaganda network. This country is losing it's spine and turning into sniveling cowards.

    March 29, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. Independent

    So that means about 60% of the country wants to keep the terrorists off US soil. That's about the same as the percentage that didn't want to adopt the Trillion dollar health care reform bill. I guess that means that the closing of Gitmo is a done deal !!

    March 29, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. PA WEAVER

    Here we go again – it is the Republican Party through the use of "fear mongering" have once again convinced some of the American People that Gitmo should not be closed. Keeping this facility open is costing us millions of dollars and has been for many years. Many of the detainees have still not had their day in court whether that be a Military Tribunal or a Civilian Trial – some of these individuals may very well be innocent of any wrong doing but rather being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The only reason that they were placed there initially is that the Bush Administration wished to abuse the Geneva Convention by torturing these individuals which could be done at Gitmo without much questioning. The rest of the World is very much watching what our decision of this will be!

    March 29, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. Marisa Ashton

    This topic is a national issue.I'm only 13,but this problem is getting me worried.If it closes in Cuba,and comes to Mainland USA,that just sets us up for another direct terrorist attack.I'm using this topic as a persuasive project in school,to get my point across that I think it should remain operation in Cuba.Please continue updating everyone on this topic.

    March 29, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    While our foreign policy cannot be determined by other countries, there is considerable evidence that keeping Gitmo opened is flaming anger and retaliation around the world. Shouldn't that be taken into consideration?

    March 29, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. willard bullock

    I know that obama are wrong about closed gumato prison when prision terroist will be dangerous what happened about out of prison

    March 29, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  24. Audrey

    Yet another broken promise from Obama....

    March 29, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  25. Larry

    Why does Obama and/or this administration continue to do what is not desired by the citizens? What ever happened to representation by our elected officals. And some ask why there is the tea parties of today . . . seems to me it is history repeating itself.

    March 29, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
1 2 3 4