Obama's Increasingly Unpopular Guantánamo Bay Decision

A new poll has voters increasingly disagreeing with the president's decision.

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Peter Roff blogged today in part about the notion of Guantánamo Bay prisoners creating legal mischief upon being brought to the United States for trial. I am skeptical of this particular line of argument (I live in Alexandria, Va., and would be delighted to see the guilty so declared in the local federal courthouse). But a new Rasmussen poll shows that the GOP may have some traction on the issue.

According to the poll, 36 percent of Americans agree with Obama's decision to close the Guantánamo Bay facility, while 46 percent oppose closing the camp. Voters were evenly divided on the question in late January, so to the extent people are paying attention, it looks like the GOP may be making headway here. Another key data point: that voters placed safety over "fairness" in determining where terrorism suspects are released by a factor of 75 percent to 17 percent. "Fairness" is an awfully squishy word, but that's a big margin.

To the extent this issue keeps trending against Obama, it could become a serious problem for him: His base are strongly in favor of closing Guantánamo, so a strong disconnect between them and the general electorate will provide a big target for Republicans.

Fully 75 percent of respondents opposed the Gitmo prisoners being released in the United States, while only 13 percent wanted it.

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