Published May 18, 2009
The latest FOX News poll asked Americans their views on everything from Guantanamo Bay to gun control to gay marriage to global warming. Here are some of the findings.
Just over half of Americans (55 percent) oppose transferring detainees from the Guantanamo Bay facility to prison facilities in the United States.
Even so, they are divided on whether bringing the detainees to the United States will put the country at risk. While some 43 percent think transferring the detainees to U.S. prison facilities would make the country less safe, about the same number — 45 percent — think it would not make much of a difference. Few — 8 percent — think it would make the United States safer.
Last week President Obama reversed his previous decision and has now decided to block the release of photos showing detainee treatment by U.S. soldiers. Most Americans agree with his revised position, as fully 77 percent think if the Pentagon releases the photos showing detainee treatment that it will likely cause a backlash against the U.S. and put U.S. troops at risk.
A large majority of the public (82 percent) says they are "very" or "somewhat" concerned about the current situation in Pakistan.
Moreover, many Americans — 56 percent — think there is a chance the Taliban will get control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, including 45 percent of Democrats, 60 percent of independents and 69 percent of Republicans.
By 47 percent to 34 percent, more Americans think better enforcement of existing gun laws is more likely to decrease gun violence than passage of more laws and restrictions on obtaining guns.
Those in a household where someone owns a gun are even more in favor better enforcement — 61 percent to 24 percent.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from May 12 to May 13. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
While the number of Americans who believe in global warming has dropped, a sizable majority believes it exists: 69 percent in the latest poll, which is down from 82 percent in 2007 and 77 percent in 2005.
Democrats (87 percent) are significantly more likely than Republicans (48 percent) and independents (67 percent) to believe in global warming.
Over half of those who believe global warming exists think it is caused by people's behavior (54 percent) — that's more than three times as many as think it is caused by normal climate patterns (15 percent). Another 28 percent think it is caused by both factors.
Even though the country continues to be divided on the issue of gay marriage, the number who think gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry is increasing.
About a third of Americans today believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to get legally married, up from 27 percent in June 2006 and 20 percent in March 2004.
On the other hand, 29 percent of the public think there should be no legal recognition given to gay and lesbian relationships, down from 40 percent in 2004.
The remaining one third (33 percent) think gays should be allowed a legal partnership similar to but not called marriage.
Nearly half of Democrats (46 percent) think gays and lesbians should be allowed to get legally married, while nearly half of Republicans (45 percent) think there should be no legal recognition.
Among those who attend religious services regularly, 23 percent believe gays should be allowed to marry legally, 31 percent support a legal partnership and 41 percent believe there should be no legal recognition.
For those who attend services rarely, 39 percent support legal marriage, 40 percent legal partnership and 16 percent no legal recognition.
The poll finds 49 percent of voters today describe themselves as "pro-life" and 43 percent as "pro-choice" on the issue of abortion. This is the first time more voters have described themselves as pro-life in the poll since April 2004.
Last year, the numbers were essentially the reverse of the current findings — at that time 41 percent said they were pro-life and 49 percent pro-choice (September 2008).
Over the last 12 years of polling on this question, more people identified as pro-choice in all but four polls.
Views on how to handle illegal immigrants show little change. Half of Americans (50 percent) favor setting up a system for illegal immigrants to become legal residents — slightly more than the 43 percent who favor deporting as many as possible. These results are almost identical to findings from a June 2007 poll when 51 percent favored setting up a system to help illegals become legal and 39 percent favored deportation.
A 66 percent majority of Democrats favor creating a system for illegal immigrants to become legal, while a 60 percent majority Republicans favor deporting as many as possible.