A majority of American voters want any ISIS terrorist captured by the United States sent to Guantanamo Bay rather than a federal prison. That’s a key finding of the latest Fox News poll, as President Obama wants to close Gitmo amid widespread fears ISIS will try to strike the homeland soon.
A large 81-percent majority expects the Islamic extremist group ISIS to attempt a U.S. attack in the near future, including 48 percent who think it is “very” likely, according to the poll released Wednesday.
If an ISIS fighter were to be captured by the U.S., where should that prisoner be sent? By a 59-29 percent margin, voters say the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.
Obama wants to close the facility and fulfill a 2008 campaign promise, yet 56 percent of voters want to keep it open. That’s up from 52 percent in June, though down from a record 63 percent in 2013.
Democrats want Gitmo closed by a 12-point margin. That’s a reversal from 2013 when Democrats favored keeping it open by 7 points.
Seven in 10 Republicans still want it open (71 percent), as do two-thirds of independents (66 percent).
Veterans are more likely to think the prison at Guantanamo Bay should stay open by nearly 50 points (72-25 percent). That’s mostly unchanged since last year when vets favored keeping it open by 69-25 percent.
In addition to a majority of voters against closing Gitmo, by more than two-to-one voters are against having prisoners there moved to a prison near them (65-32 percent).
Meanwhile, voters put ISIS second only to the economy on the president’s list of priorities: 38 percent say working on the economy should be Obama’s first order of business right now, followed by 21 percent who say ISIS. Another 12 percent say health care, 10 percent immigration and 9 percent race relations.
By a 21-point margin, more voters disapprove than approve (56-35 percent) of the job Obama is doing handling ISIS. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats approve, while just 31 percent of independents and 15 percent of Republicans approve.
Likewise, on foreign policy, 37 percent of voters approve, while 57 percent disapprove.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,043 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from December 7-9, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.