Despite Obama's Urgings, Americans Would Keep Guantanamo Open

May 30, 2013, 1:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 5/25/2013) Since its establishment soon after the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans have supported keeping the detainee center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay open. President Obama said he would shut it down during his first campaign, and last week he made another attempt to rally the American public to his position. But according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, he did not succeed. Americans still want to keep the detainee center open.

Less than one in five would close the center. Only 44% of Democrats favor closing the center; more than a third of Democrats want to keep it open.

However, by 63% to 18%, Americans want those now at Guantanamo to be tried, and that opinion is shared pretty much across the board. But how to try them creates differences: nearly half would try them in military courts. Just over a third would use the civilian court system.

The Guantanamo situation has not worked to the President’s advantage. Only 27% approve of the way he has handled the situation - perhaps not surprising, given that most disagree with his position.

Even a quarter of Democrats disapprove of the President’s handling of Guantanamo.