Fox News Poll: Voters want Guantanamo Bay kept open

A majority of American voters wants to keep the military prison at Guantanamo Bay open, and many feel it has made the United States safer.

A new Fox News poll finds 63 percent of voters want to keep the detention facility known as Gitmo open, while 28 percent say it should be closed and the terrorist suspects moved to federal prisons in the United States.

There’s across-the-board agreement on keeping the prison open, although the degree of support varies by political party.  Democrats favor keeping Gitmo by a 7 percentage-point margin, independents by 31 points and Republicans by 66 points.

Barack Obama promised to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, both while he was a candidate during the 2008 campaign and as president.

Meanwhile, nearly half of voters -- 48 percent -- think Gitmo has made the United States safer.  That’s more than double the 22 percent who think it has made the country less safe.  Another 15 percent say it hasn’t made a difference.

Among voters who have served in the military, 69 percent want to keep Gitmo open and 58 percent think it has made the United States safer.


Poll Pourri …

Voters think Islamic terrorists pose a greater threat to the United States today than immediately after the September 11 attacks.  A 56-percent majority says Islamic terrorists are more of a threat now.  That’s twice as many as say less of a threat (28 percent).

Republicans (+57 points) are much more likely than Democrats (+10 points) to say Islamic terrorists are a greater threat today.  There’s also a gender gap, as women (+40 points) are more likely than men (+14 points) to think so.

By a two-to-one margin, voters think if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is convicted of the Boston marathon bombings he should receive the death penalty (65 percent) as opposed to life in prison (32 percent).

Majorities of Republicans (83 percent), Democrats (55 percent) and independents (52 percent) agree the death penalty is the appropriate punishment.

Those living in the Northeast (40 percent) are more likely than those living in other regions to say Tsarnaev should get life in prison.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,013 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from May 18 to May 20.  The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.