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.