A majority of Americans want Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden to serve time in prison, though the public is slightly more forgiving to Snowden
Bradley Manning, the soldier who provided classified documents to Wikileaks and pled guilty to 10 charges against him, was just acquitted at his court martial of the most serious one, “aiding the enemy.” He was, however, convicted of a range of other offenses including espionage, meaning it is likely that he will spend a long time in prison. Edward Snowden, the former analyst who leaked information about U.S. government surveillance activities, remains in the Moscow Airport transit zone.
In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, Americans would like to see both of them go to jail, though there is no agreement on how long each should serve. 53% of Americans want Edward Snowden to at least go to prison for a short time.
For Bradley Manning, however, 55% want him to serve time behind bars - with 9% even wanting him to face the death penalty.
Manning had already agreed to serve 20 years; four in ten think he should serve a long prison term – or even remain in prison for life. Today a military judge may have acquitted Manning of “aiding the enemy” but 43% of Americans, responding before the verdict was announced, say that is exactly what he did.
Even though opinion of Snowden has become more negative the longer he has remained in Moscow. But it is still somewhat better than opinion of Manning. Just 17% have a favorable view of Manning, while 51% are unfavorable. In contrast, 33% have a favorable opinion of Snowden. However, 42% are unfavorable towards the analyst.
As for Snowden, the public has become increasingly willing to put him on trial, too. 33% in this week’s poll favor prosecution; 25% oppose it.
Full results can be found here.