Last week, Brittney Griner was returned to the United States after being detained for nearly 10 months in Russia, the result of being arrested for possession of cannabis oil. She was released in exchange for the release of convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who was being held in the U.S.
According to the latest Economist/YouGov poll, about half of Americans (52%) say they support the U.S. engaging in prisoner exchanges generally — but just 38% say they approve of Griner being released in exchange for Bout.
The disapproval of the Griner-Bout prisoner exchange is dominated by overwhelming disapproval from Republicans, three-quarters of whom say they disapprove. Republicans also say they disapprove of prisoner swaps in general, though by a smaller margin (39% approve, 46% do not).
The U.S. government was unable to secure the release of former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, who is still being held in Russia on espionage charges. Three in five Americans (60%) say the U.S. government should be doing more than it currently is to secure Whelan’s release from Russia. Republicans (78%) are more likely than Democrats (53%) to say the government should be working harder to bring Whelan back to the U.S.
— Carl Bialik contributed to this article
Methodology: Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2019 American Community Survey. The sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, education, 2020 election turnout and presidential vote, baseline party identification, and current voter registration status. Demographic weighting targets come from the 2019 American Community Survey. Baseline party identification is the respondent’s most recent answer given prior to June 1, 2022, and is weighted to the estimated distribution at that time (34% Democratic, 31% Republican). The margin of error for the overall sample is approximately 3%.None