Obama losing on Gitmo

No wonder Dick Cheney’s popularity is rebounding.  While Barack Obama continues to insist that the detention center at Guantanamo Bay makes the US less safe, the majority of American voters disagree with that statement.  Almost a majority favors keeping it open, according to Rasmussen’s latest polling on the subject, and by more than a 2-1 difference oppose moving any of its detainees to the United States, as suggested by the administration (via Power Line):

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters nationwide now disagree with President Barack Obama’s decision to close the prison camp for suspected terrorists at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, conducted after the President’s speech on Guantanamo last week, shows that 38% agree with his decision.

Just 25% share the President’s view that the Guantanamo camp weakened national security. Fifty-one percent (51%) disagree with that perspective.

And, by a 57% to 28% margin, voters oppose moving any of the suspected terrorists to prisons in the United States. Republicans and voters not affiliated with either major party strongly oppose transfers to U.S. prisons. Democrats are evenly divided.

A year ago, when both presidential candidates insisted on closing Gitmo, they had the popular wind at their backs.  Rasmussen polled 59% approval for closing the facility at that point, which dropped to 49% at the election, and 42% on Inauguration Day.  The path has trended sharply downward, especially as the question moved from academic to pragmatic.

The crosstabs are interesting.  More men than women have an opinion on this topic — and both oppose closing Gitmo.  Women are much more adamant about keeping terrorists out of the US; they oppose relocating Gitmo inmates to the US by a 60-22 margin, a bigger split than men at 53-34.  On that question, every age demographic opposes the idea, as does every ethnic demographic, almost all by majorities (only blacks have a plurality against, rather than a majority).  Only self-identified liberals and people making over $100,000 a year support the idea of transferring Gitmo detainees here.

As for Obama’s argument that Gitmo weakened American security, most people aren’t buying that, either.  Women reject it by more than 2-1 (52-21), and all but the youngest voters have majorities disagreeing.  The $100K+ earners reject it 52-38, even while supporting the idea of bringing Gitmo inmates to the US.

Would this have been different for John McCain?  Perhaps not, but McCain may have thought through some solutions to Gitmo before issuing an executive order for its closure.  Obama appears to be floundering on Gitmo now, and the American people now agree more with Dick Cheney than Obama on national security.  That’s not a good sign for this administration.