Via a number of other bloggers, here are poll data on Guantanamo Bay from USA Today:
30. As you may know, since 2001, the United States has held people from other countries who are suspected of being terrorists at a detention facility in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Based on what you have heard or read, do you think the US should continue to operate this facility or do you think the US should close this facility and transfer the prisoners to other facilities?
Continue to Operate: 58%
Close Facility: 36%
No Opinion: 6%
31. In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way the US is treating the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?
No opinion: 11%
And these are “adults,” not voters.
It seems like there is a common denominator in the Dems’ tactics of late: they’re going really hard after the most liberal 37% of the population. I’d guess that the people who think Priscilla Owen is a dangerous extremist are pretty much exactly the same ones who lie awake at night worrying that a terrorist’s air conditioning might not be properly adjusted.
UPDATE: We got this interesting email from Dave Weigel of the Editorials/Op-eds department at USA Today:
To Mr. Hinderaker:
I thought your post about the Gitmo poll could use some context. Those numbers – 52-58% approve, 36-37% disapprove – represent some slippage since 2002 and 2003.
Here are some previous polls, with admittedly different phrasing in their questions. I grabbed them from Nexis.
GALLUP – Jan 2002
Based on what you have heard or read, would you consider the way the U.S. is treating the Taliban soldiers being held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to be acceptable or unacceptable treatment, or don’t you know enough to say?
Acceptable – 72%
Unacceptable – 4
Don’t know enough to say – 24
Suppose a Taliban soldier were captured during war and held outdoors in an 8 foot by 8 foot cell, and when traveling from one location to another was blindfolded and had his hands bound. Would you consider that to be acceptable or unacceptable treatment?
Acceptable – 76%
Unacceptable – 20
No opinion – 4
ABC – Sept 2003
Please tell me if you support or oppose the federal government … holding suspected terrorists without trial at the U.S. (United States) military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Support – 65%
Oppose – 28
No opinion – 7
While your point about the Democrats’ use of the issue seems sound, I thought this context would be useful.
– Dave Weigel
I replied to Mr. Weigel as follows:
David, thanks, that is very interesting context. Of course, the difference is that the Democrats have now chosen to make the treatment of detainees a political issue, and have rallied their supporters around that theme. So it’s natural that the “disapprovers,” essentially all of whom I take to be loyal Democrats, would become more numerous.
If the Dems can’t get more than 37% on their side with the all-out push they have made on this issue, they’re in trouble.