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. Enough

    Are people finally getting a clue about Gitmo? Or are these numbers just meant to go along with another failed Obama campaign promise?

    March 29, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Those who are new to office, soon find their idealism, is misplaced.

    March 29, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. Chris Kirkpatrick

    Americans' opinions on the closing of our detention centers off country are a moot point. They were wrong from their inception and they continue to be wrong now. We have tolerated torture under different terminology out of a desire for information. Frankly, the longer we waffle on this the worse this will be for us in the long run. Sadly, it's too late to take the moral high ground or to reclaim it. We have allowed 19 terrorists to shake up and destroy who we are as a country and what it is we stand for. How unfortunate!

    March 29, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  4. Why close GITMO?

    After all it's just another Obama campaign promise........worthless on its face.

    March 29, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  5. JA/TN

    polls, who are you polling, after we started world war three, what did the polls say, President Obama is merly trying to clean a cess pool, someone else designed

    March 29, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. pkb

    CNN has bedcome so right leaning with its news. Most Americans??? Most Americans don't even know where Guantanamo is!! They are struggling with food and a roof over their head. This is insulting.

    March 29, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. Mike

    NIMBY strikes again.

    March 29, 2010 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Former Nude Models like Brown make great role models for our nation's youth

    Closing Guantanamo completely was a political gimmick. Obama was just pandering to his liberal base to try to beat Clinton for the nomination. Whoever wants to close Guanatanamo should be the first people to invite the prisoners to be moved to their home neighborhood. Anything less is pure hypocrisy

    March 29, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. rs

    This is simply a function of Republicans- most notably Dick Cheney lying about Gitmo and torture and the benefits thereof. Probably doesn't hurt that FOX still runs 24- the foundation of Bush foreign relations policy.

    March 29, 2010 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. Turn Texas Blue

    Its because we now have a President that can be trusted and is doing the job the" MAJORITY OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WANT DONE.

    March 29, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. Darrell

    It is Holy Week and Americans are afraid to do what is right under God...Guantanamo is symbol of what is wrong about our values and beliefs as a nation...instead of listening to the Republicans spread fear and revenge, we need to listen to our hearts and what God/Jesus taught us about what is right...if we allow this symbol to stand, than we are no better than the people who are trying to harm us...infact, they would not need to attack us, because we will allow fear to attack our basic values and beliefs and what makes us Americans.

    March 29, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. Paul

    6 in 10 people also opposed health care and that did not stop them.

    March 29, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  13. spike in conshohocken pa

    Apparently, since Bush has left office, a lot of Bush policies are now OK.

    March 29, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. jeremiah

    the american public is to illy informed and uneducated.. thats why their opinions change all the time.

    March 29, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. zazzle.com/TheProgram

    Once again, republican fear tactics have taken hold of some peoples' opinions.

    We cannot continue to hold men in prison indefinitely without charging them with a crime, and certainly not without convicting them.
    It's not legal! Which is why Gitmo is offshore.

    March 29, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  16. ronvan

    History is just that, History! You cannot change it but you can change the present and the future. I see NO reason that these prisioners could not be put in a prison in this country. However, because so many people are "scared silly", exactly what these terrorist mutants want and love to see, then keep them in GITMO. Just clean it up! BUT if that is the decision then ALL terrorist suspects MUST be sent there, NO EXCEPTIONS, whatever "do gooder" groups scream!

    March 29, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. Bill

    There are people in this facility who have never done anything wrong. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. And now they are held for YEARS without a trial and little or no contact with relatives. This is appalling and un-American. Shame on all of us.

    March 29, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Let the fear mongering begin with CNN leading the way!!

    March 29, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  19. Carl Justus

    It does not surprise me for the republicans keep up a steady drumbeat against everything that Obama proposes.

    If Obama came out with a plan to pay off the massive REPUBLICAN NATIONAL DEBT RUN UP BY REAGAN, BUSH ONE AND BUSH TWO THEY WOULD AGAINST THAT TOO.

    March 29, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  20. Aim

    Unbelievable. Sounds like the mentality of this country is going backwards all the time – no surprise, with all the teabaggers and their relentless, uninformed screeching.

    March 29, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. jules sand-perkins

    I was opposed to closing this detention facility when President Obama promised to do so.
    I remain opposed to closing it.

    March 29, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. Tom C in NY

    Of course some attitudes have shifted, as this story has been subject to non stop demagoguery from the Republicans, which some sheeple have then bought into, hook, line and sinker. And Republicans do these kinds of things as an easy scapegoat so as to divert attention away from their own selfish and idiotic positions on the issues.

    March 29, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. Fair is Fair

    Go figure. Obama doesn't live up to a campaign promise and his minions follow blindly.

    No news here... move along... there's nothing to see here... please keep moving.... it's all over folks...

    March 29, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  24. Gate

    Under Bush/Cheney most people knew that the law (Geneva Conventions, etc.) was being violated there. Under Obama more people feel that the camp is being run in accordance with the law and American values (i.e. no torture). If another Republican gets elected President and has no respect for the Constitution like Bush/Cheney you will see the approval of Gitmo fall.

    March 29, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Russ

    Just goes to show how effective the Right scare tactics can be to the uneducated. Too bad for our country.

    March 29, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
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