Last May, Gallup asked poll respondents, “Do you think the Unites States should — or should not — close [Guantanamo] and move some of the prisoners to U.S. prisons?” At the time, 65 percent of respondents opposed the plan to close Guantanamo, while 32 percent supported it.
Fast forward seven months. The Obama administration has decided to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York and has just announced it will bring other Guantanamo inmates to a souped-up prison in Illinois. So Gallup has taken another poll. And the results are…virtually the same as in May.
In the new survey, 64 percent say they oppose bringing Guantanamo inmates here, while 30 percent support it.
The president doesn't even have a majority of his own party on his side. In the new poll, 50 percent of Democrats support bringing Guantanamo prisoners to the U.S., while just 28 percent of independents and eight percent of Republicans do.
Opposition to Obama's policy is spread evenly across the country. Gallup found that 65 percent of people in the East, 60 percent of people in the Midwest, 67 percent of people in the South, and 64 percent of people in the West oppose bringing the prisoners to the United States.
The majorities opposing Obama on the Guantanamo issue are even larger than those that oppose him on national health care. And that could be decisive. Gallup notes that Obama will need the approval of Congress to bring the Gitmo prisoners here. “Congressional lawmakers voting on the plan to bring terrorist suspects now housed at Guantanamo to the U.S. will generally be doing so in the context of significant opposition from their constituents,” Gallup concludes, “thus potentially reducing the chances that the president will be able to get quick House and Senate approval for his proposal.”