Voters continue to oppose President Obama closing Guantanamo Bay, and don’t believe his administration over the U.S. intel community regarding rate of return. A new PPD Poll finds just 28 percent of American registered voters support Obama closing Gitmo, and 59 percent say the administration isn’t being truthful when they claim only 6 percent have returned to the War on Terror battlefield.
According to a recent report, U.S. intel officials believe upwards of 20 to 30 Guantanamo Bay detainees released by the Obama administration in the past few years alone have joined the Islamic State (ISIS), while upwards of 30 percent are suspected or confirmed of returning to Islamic terrorist activity.
However, following the recent release of five Yemeni Gitmo detainees, the Obama administration claimed via the State Department that the number was only 6 percent. According to the new PPD Poll, only 23 percent of Americans are buying that figure. Interesting enough, the numbers tell us that a small group of Americans support closing Gitmo, despite believing they will pose a threat in the future. Of the five percent, nearly four out of five identified themselves as liberal, while the majority of the remaining voters in this category identify themselves as independent or libertarian.
The survey of 600 registered voters was conducted on January 15 – 18, 2015, beginning on the day PPD reported former Gitmo detainee — Mullah Abdul Rauf, a former Taliban commander and prisoner at Guantanamo Bay released by the Obama administration — established the first Islamic State base in Afghanistan. The survey’s margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent and has a 95 percent level of confidence. The results reflect a 50/50 split between landlines and cell phones.
Rauf is now in charge of recruiting members of the Afghanistan Taliban in Helmand province, and is even tapping tribal leaders that deal directly with the western-backed government. General Mahmood Khan, the deputy commander of the army’s 215 Corps and head of the Afghan army unit responsible for the province, said ISIS is trying to win popular support among these groups, because they were “preparing to fight” in the spring.
The PPD Poll is in line with other recent surveys, including a new Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday. The poll found that just 29 percent of likely voters believe the Guantanamo prison camp should be closed, which is up slightly from the 23 percent measured in April 2013. Rasmussen, historically, found more support for the prison’s closure than other pollsters. But even the current level is down from a high of 44 percent in January 2009, when President Obama first announced his plans to do so. Now, a significant 19 percent are undecided.
The survey of 800 Likely Voters was conducted on January 15-16, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
Similarly, a June 13 Gallup poll found just 29 percent of Americans support closing the terrorist detention camp and moving its prisoners to U.S. prisons, while 66 percent oppose doing so. As with the latest PPD Poll, ideology is the most predictive factor when determining a respondent’s answer, not party preference or ID.
Even though Republicans are more likely than Democrats to oppose closing Guantanamo Bay, the majority of Democrats remain opposed, leaving a small fringe element on the left a tiny minority. In the latest Gallup poll, Democrats offered their lowest level of support since 2007, when the question was first posed to Americans. Now, just 41 percent of the president’s own party support him and the radical left, while 54 percent oppose them.
In the PPD Poll, only 40 percent indicated support for the president’s plan to make good on his campaign promise. With a majority of Democrats joining the opposition, the closing of Guantanamo Bay remains a radical left position in America.