June 10th, 2014
11:08 AM ET
6 months ago

Polls: Plurality disapprove of Bergdahl swap for Taliban prisoners

Washington (CNN) - More Americans disapprove than approve of the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban prisoners, according to two new national polls.

And the surveys indicate a wide partisan divide over the controversial deal, with most Republicans giving the exchange a thumbs down and a majority of Democrats approving of the swap.

Forty-five percent of people questioned in a CBS News poll released Tuesday morning say they disapprove of the deal, announced a week and a half ago, with 37% supporting the exchange and nearly one in five unsure.

A USA Today/Pew Research survey released Monday had similar findings, with 43% saying the release of five Taliban prisoners held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in exchange for Berghdal was the wrong thing to do. Thirty-four percent say it was the right thing to do and nearly a quarter are unsure.

Besides the expected partisan divide, both polls indicate a majority of military veterans disapprove of the deal.

Bergdahl went missing on June 30, 2009, in Afghanistan's Paktika province, where he was deployed with the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division.

An Army fact-finding investigation conducted in the months after his disappearance concluded that Bergdahl left his outpost deliberately and of his own free will, according to an official who was briefed on the report. The Army has no definitive finding that Bergdahl deserted because that would require knowing his intent - something Army officials couldn't learn without talking to the soldier, a U.S. military official told CNN.

The prisoner exchange has become a game of political football, with Republicans who once called for the administration to work for Bergdahl's return now saying the swap released some of the worst Taliban leaders being held at Guantanamo Bay.

According to the USA Today/Pew Research Center poll, 56% of the public says the U.S. is responsible for securing a captive's release, regardless of the circumstances, with 29% saying since Bergdahl left his post, the U.S. was not obligated to do all it could to secure his release.

The CBS News survey indicates that a majority of the public (56%) say the U.S. paid too high a price to secure Bergdahl's release.

The CBS News poll was conducted June 8-9, with 1,013 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

The USA Today/Pew Research Center poll was conducted June 5-8, with 1,004 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.


Filed under: Bowe Bergdahl • Polls
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    It is now official US policy that all POWs must be tried in the court of public opinion prior to making any deals to bring them home.

    Sleep well, troops.

    June 10, 2014 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Denise

    Ah, yes and Romney in a landslide......

    June 10, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    -what poll? By Fox? Nonsense. Fundamentally speaking that two wars themselves wrong wars. Don't these guys know? Do they want Bergdahl die in the hands of these Talibans? Ask Berdahl parents the anguish, agony they faced. How do these pollsters know the pain. Nonsense. I think pres. Obama did an excellent job by getting Bergdahl home safely. These polls are just bogus–no one asked me.

    June 10, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Of course. This is a topic where many more Americans, know what is proper and what is not, and they can see the lies and deceit in this, much more clearly than other situations.

    June 10, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. AlbaMN

    It is sad that our country has sunk to the point where getting back a POW is seen as a bad thing. Even if there are ALLEGATIONS of wrong-doing on his part, he is still an American soldier.

    June 10, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. Tampa Tim

    McCain said that the 5 Taliban detainees released were responsible for 9-11, and the brain dead believe him. John also walked out of a briefing on Bergdahl and complained to media that he could not get any information.

    June 10, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Silence DoGood

    "The prisoner exchange has become a game of political football, with Republicans who once called for the administration to work for Bergdahl's return now saying the swap released some of the worst Taliban leaders being held at Guantanamo Bay."
    --------
    So, the GOP changes it's stand to look good and criticize Obama. And Obama stood by his beliefs and convictions.
    Which one has a strong moral compass?

    June 10, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    What your poll fails to mention is that 57% of independents agree with the swap. Republicans once again are once again on the wrong side of the issue & history.

    June 10, 2014 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. sonny chapman

    The American Public has turned against an American Combat Soldier. Shades of Vietnam. TY Fox News.

    June 10, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Gunderson

    Ouch!,
    Accusers of Mitt Romney Flip-Flopping now can add Hillary to that list. She now wishes she hadn't voted for Going to war. Welcome to Club Hillary!!

    June 10, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    A plurality this and a plurality that ... makes for nothing more than a whole lot of useless clutch our pearls hand-wringing.

    June 10, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. it must be said

    More Americans disapprove than approve of the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban prisoners, according to two new national polls.
    And the surveys indicate a wide partisan divide over the controversial deal, with most Republicans giving the exchange a thumbs down and a majority of Democrats approving of the swap.
    --

    Of course! Most Democrats hate this country and its military and like to see things happen that endanger all of us as well as the military. Now when all of these 5 murderous animals resume their very real war on women in Afghanistan, will the Democrats supporting this stand up and defend their release too? Obama and the Democrats are just so clueless and naive. And all for one alleged deserter. How many will pay for it with THEIR lives???

    June 10, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Ali

    Bravo Mr. President. No one cares what Faux channel viewers think. If U.S. Sends it's sons and daughters to war, you better bring them home dead or alive. Maybe we should trade few Tea baggers and faux channel next time.

    June 10, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. Bill from GA

    " Plurality disapprove of Bergdahl swap for Taliban prisoners "

    The righties are clearly winning the propaganda war.

    Generally, we cut a soldier a lot of slack for their actions. It's tough out their, and Bergdahl's out-post was one of the worst. If he had returned and 'screwed up', we would surely take his military tenure in consideration.

    But since Obama was behind Bergdahl's release, it is a political issue, and gets the full condemnation of the right wing propaganda network; media and politicians both.

    if Bush had done what Obama did, all would be fine.

    June 10, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    So, a plurality of people have bought into the right wing position that we should have left the man to the mercy of his captors. This just goes to show how effective the right wing is at messaging misinformation to the public. The Taliban prisoners, just like most all of the prisoners, would have to be released once the wars end by years end according to former Bush administration officials. We got something in return.

    June 10, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Thomas

    More Americans disapprove than approve .
    This is what happens when you fight a war for 14 years , people lose there direction and compassion .

    Today , Five US service men died in Afghanistan do to friendly fire .

    Do we blame Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl ?

    As for those exchanged five Taliban prisoners , we know where they stay , who there relatives are .

    June 10, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Marcus (from...?)

    What country bases his past and/or present and/or future actions or inactions on polls?
    Or in rushed (and politically motivated) judgements of this or that government action?
    Or in one-sided versions of the facts?

    June 10, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Fox News has tried and convicted Bergdahl, so now we know that right wing chicken hawks don't want our soldiers back. Those MIA flags are meaningless to GOBaggers.

    June 10, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Keith

    First let me say that regardless of how he got back I am 100% in favor of us never giving up and finally returning a missing U. S. soldier. Second let me say that I am 100% against trading these five individuals in order to obtains that result.

    In the interest of the big picture and the ends justifying the means I have to ask myself how many innocent lives we traded for our man? Americans may die and may not but we can be guaranteed some will. How many Australians? Britons? Afghans? ...

    The world is larger than the borders on our map and those heads are squarely on the shoulders of anyone who played a part in authorizing this deal. Since I'm assuming that the president ultimately has the final say he bears the responsibility for not only his part in the coming deaths but also in the ordered abandonment of morals for any in his chain of command with a direct role.

    June 10, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. old age voter

    Of course most Americans disapprove of the exchange for five Taliban prisoners.
    Most Americans would not provide aid and comfort to the enemy.
    Most Americans are not Taliban sympathizers.
    Most Americans are not traitors.
    Most Americans are not Always Wrong Obama.

    June 10, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Archer

    To say it was a bad deal is an understatement. On top of that Obama went around Congress like he does on so many things. He will go down as one of the most ineffective and inept leaders of our time and its only going to get worse because even more will be unwilling to work with him. I am starting to wonder the real reason for this swap and I don't think it has anything to do with Bergdahl.

    June 10, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. yeahright

    Sniffit
    It is now official US policy that all POWs must be tried in the court of public opinion prior to making any deals to bring them home.

    Sleep well, troops.

    -----

    Exactly. If the majority of Americans do not believe in due process, the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise, the right to a trial, not leaving anyone behind, then what the hell are we fighting for over there? We've become as bad as the people we are fighting.

    June 10, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. TONE

    it must be said

    More Americans disapprove than approve of the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for five Taliban prisoners, according to two new national polls.
    And the surveys indicate a wide partisan divide over the controversial deal, with most Republicans giving the exchange a thumbs down and a majority of Democrats approving of the swap.
    -

    Of course! Most Democrats hate this country and its military and like to see things happen that endanger all of us as well as the military. Now when all of these 5 murderous animals resume their very real war on women in Afghanistan, will the Democrats supporting this stand up and defend their release too? Obama and the Democrats are just so clueless and naive. And all for one alleged deserter. How many will pay for it with THEIR lives???

    It's statements like yours that will keep all of my kids out of the US military i cannot trust Americans any longer, the best thing i ever did was to get out of the military in 1999, and my kids will never join. This is a shameful.

    June 10, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Let's roll the video of Sen. McCain, the harshest critic, proposing this deal back in February as something we should do.

    June 10, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Janet Nappylotto

    Liberals...
    When a US Marine is imprisoned in Mexico... Silence.

    When US Navy Seals are killed trying to protect an US Ambassador... Vicious denial that it ever happened

    When a soldier of questionable loyalty is traded for 5 dangerous terrorists... Fanatical applause and cult-like defense over the major botch.

    If course, what do you expect from people who kicked Veterans from War Memorials while illegal immigrants were allowed to protest in the closed National Mall.

    June 10, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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