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Poll: Most Oppose Closing Guantanamo Prison

Poll: Most Oppose Closing Guantanamo Prison

By Michael Cipriano - May 27, 2014

More than half of likely voters oppose the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll.

Despite recent legislative efforts spearheaded by Michigan Sen. Carl Levin to close the prison, a national telephone survey found that 54 percent of likely voters oppose shutting down the facility and moving the inmates to U.S. prisons.

The poll also found that nearly half of the respondents -- 47 percent -- believe that imprisoning suspected terrorists at Guantanamo has made the United States safer.

Less than one-third -- 27 percent -- believe the facility should be closed. This number is an increase from 23 percent in April 2013, but marks a significant drop from the 44 percent who favored its closing in January 2009, when newly inaugurated President Obama first announced his intention to shut it down.

But if Guantanamo is popular with most Americans, it is not an admired symbol outside the United States. Adding to the recent discussion of the prison is a ruling by U.S. Federal District Court Judge Gladys Kessler, in which she reluctantly allowed the military to force-feed Syrian detainee Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, who had been on a hunger strike.

Kessler had previously issued a temporary restraining order barring the military from force-feeding Diyab. She lifted the order a week later, however, arguing that the court cannot just let Diyab die, despite the “great pain and suffering” inflicted by the forced-feeding.

The Rasmussen survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted May 23-24 and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Michael Cipriano

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