Correspondence with the Bush Administration

U.S. transfers 20 more prisoners to Afghan custody
February 10, 2008
Confusion Clouds Guantanamo Tribunals
Associated Press
February 6, 2008
France urges US to drop Guantanamo trial of Canadian
January 23, 2008
More Media...

Supreme Court Decisions
  - RASUL v. Bush & Al-Odah v. United States
  - HAMDI et al. v. RUMSFELD
  - HAMDAN et al. v. RUMSFELD

Amicus Briefs
  - Helen Duffy and William Aceves



John Harwood
Washington Wire
August 26, 2005

PRISONER GAP: Republican Pollster Kellyanne Conway says 43% of woman consider detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay “unfair”, compared to just 31% of men. Blacks and Hispanics were also disproportionately likely to question current U.S. policy on detainees, while married respondents were more supportive.

National Omnibus Survey: Executive Summary
Note: this survey was conducted by the polling company

Key Results:

Intensity was strong on both sides of the fairness spectrum, suggesting decisiveness and the deep emotion among many Americans with respect to Guantanamo Bay; however, there was a dramatic gender gap in the opinions about the continued detention of suspects at Guantanamo Bay.

  • 43% of women find the imprisonment of alleged criminal to be “unfair”.
  • Women are 12% more likely than their male counterparts to classify the practice as “unfair”(43%-31%).
  • Over one-half (51%) of women with children concurred that a prolonged detention of suspects without criminal charges was unjustified.

This news along with the recent activism of Cindy Sheehan outside of President Bush’s ranch indicates a rebirth of human rights activism on the part of females that has not been as prominent since September 11 when the Patriot Act fervor and dedication to do whatever it takes to fight terrorism was the primary sentiment.

Additional Results of Interest:

Minorities were especially sensitive to the handling of the alleged terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

  • One-half (51%) of African-Americans considered the extended imprisonment without a trial to be unjustified.
  • Hispanics were 8-points more likely than the average respondent to believe that Gitmo detainees were held in captivity for an unreasonable amount of time (45%-37%).

Marital status influences one’s propensity to identify with the rights of prisoners currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.

  • Unmarried adults were 9-points more likely than their wedded counterparts to cry foul against the detention practices of Guantanamo Bay detainees (44%- 35%).
  • Married Americans were less inclined to empathize with the detainees, as they were more likely to support the policy.

Income Levels Impact Support:

  • As the following chart illustrates, a belief in the justness of the detention practices at Gitmo steadily increased with income.
  • Those households earning less than $30,000 annually or between $30,000 and $49,000 were more likely to describe the conduct as “unfair” than “fair.”

This attitude underwent a sharp reversal at the $50,000 mark, as middle and middle-to-high income households were more supportive of the U.S. policies at Gitmo. Opinions leveled off at the highest income echelon, as $90,000+ households were nearly evenly divided in their opinions.

Young Americans were torn over the justice of imprisoning suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

  • Respondents aged 18-24 were 7-points more likely than the average American to suggest that the handling of detainees was “fair.”
  • The generation just ahead of them (25-34 year olds) were more likely than all other age groups to denounce find this conduct (44%- 38%).
  • “Junior Seniors” (respondents aged 55-64) were 10-points more likely than all other respondents to support detaining suspected terrorists for an indefinite period of time (45%- 35%).

A Nation Divided: There was a clear divide in opinion among respondents who resided in traditionally “red” and “blue” states.

  • Americans living on the coasts were more likely than most to concur that holding alleged criminals for an unspecified amount of time is unwarranted.
  • Four-in-ten Northeasterners (40%) and West Coast residents (39%) condemned the Guantanamo Bay situation as “unfair” In contrast, 41% of Southerners believed the imprisonment of Guantanamo Bay detainees was reasonable.
  • Respondents from the North Central region were also more likely to label the situation more excessive than judicious, but only by a three-point margin (38% “unfair” vs. 35% “fair”).

Americans are decidedly split over the detention policy at Guantanamo Bay. With the memories of 9-11 still vividly etched in the minds of most citizens, it is little wonder that a plurality continue to support the actions taken by the U.S. government to protect our national security, including the imprisonment of hundreds of possible terrorists at an offshore location. However, there are a growing number of people, particularly women, singles, lower income households, minorities, and costal residents who have begun to question this handling as time passes.


This survey was conducted by the polling company ™, August 9-11 by telephone to 1,000 (aged 18+) at a Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) phone facility using live callers. The sample was drawn utilizing a Random Digit Dialing (RDD) method where phone numbers were generated by a computer to ensure that every household in the nation had an equal chance to be surveyed. For the national sample, the margin of error for the national survey is calculated at + 3.0% at the 95% confidence level.

Sampling controls were used to ensure that a proportional and representative number of people were interviewed from demographic groups as age, gender, race, ethnicity and geographic region.