Poll: 43 Percent Say Obama Erred in Bergdahl Deal

Poll: 43 Percent Say Obama Erred in Bergdahl Deal

By Michael Cipriano - June 9, 2014

More than four in 10 Americans believe the prisoner exchange that secured the release of U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl was the wrong move, according to a USA Today/Pew Research Center poll.

Forty-three percent believe the Obama administration made a mistake by trading five high-ranking Taliban commanders held at the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility for Bergdahl, while 34 percent believe it was the right thing to do. The remaining 23 percent had no opinion.

The disapproval margin among veterans was much larger. Of the 128 veterans surveyed, nearly seven of 10 believe the president made the wrong decision; just 16 percent said it was the right move. One-third of veterans say they are angry with Bergdahl, while only 6 percent sympathized with him.

While 56 percent of respondents believe the U.S. is responsible for securing a prisoner of war’s release regardless of the circumstances, the results were split among party lines. Only 39 percent of Republicans feel this way compared to three of four Democrats. Nearly half of Republicans believe the U.S. was not obligated to do all it could to secure Bergdahl’s release -- because he had left his post -- compared to only 16 percent of Democrats.

"If he was a captured prisoner of war, we wouldn't be having this discussion," said Joe Davis, the director of public affairs for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "He put his teammates in jeopardy, and you absolutely don't do that in a combat zone."

The national survey of 1,004 adults was conducted June 5-8 with a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points for all respondents and plus or minus 10 points for veterans. 

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