Barack Obama continues his record as the Teflon President. A new Rasmussen survey reports that America is not happy with the President’s release of the CIA memos but they think that that he is doing a great job in foreign policy.
The study reflects the public’s perception the memo release will hurt national security and will NOT help the United State’s reputation abroad. But the big news is that by a 58-28% margin, Americans do not want the Obama administration to waste time on an investigation of the Bush administration’s treatment of terrorists:
Fifty-eight percent (58%) believe the Obama administration’s recent release of CIA memos about the harsh interrogation methods used on terrorism suspects endangers the national security of the United States. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 28% believe the release of the memos helps America’s image abroad.
Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters now believe the U.S. legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights when national security is at stake. But 21% say the legal system is too concerned about protecting national security. Thirty-three percent (33%) say the balance between the two is about right.
This reflects a significant shift over the past couple of years. In several surveys conducted during 2008, Americans were fairly evenly divided as to whether our legal system worried too much about individual rights or too much about protecting national security.
Among all voters, 42% say terrorism suspects were tortured by the United States, but 37% disagree. The number who believe America used torture is unchanged from October 2007.
Most Democrats (54%) and a plurality of unaffiliated voters (46%) believe the United States did torture terrorism suspects. Fifty-five percent (55%) of GOP voters do not believe torture was used.
Only 28% of U.S. voters think the Obama administration should do any further investigating of how the Bush administration treated terrorism suspects.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) are opposed. Democrats are evenly divided over whether further investigation is necessary. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Republicans and 62% of voters not affiliated with either major party are against more investigating.
Sizable majorities of Republicans and unaffiliated voters say the release of the CIA memos about the interrogations hurts national security. Democrats are evenly divided on whether the release hurt national security or helped the image of the United States abroad.
Fifty-five percent (55%) of Republicans think the legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights at the expense of national security. Democrats and unaffiliated voters are more closely divided. A plurality of Democrats (44%) say the legal system’s current balance between individual rights and national security is about right.
Seventy-seven percent (77%) of all voters say they have followed news reports about the release of the CIA memos detailing Bush administration interrogation techniques at least somewhat closely. Only six percent (6%) say they have not followed the reports at all.
Forty-six percent (46%) of voters disagree with Obama’s decision to close the prison camp for terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba, while 36% agree with the president’s action. Support for the decision has fallen since the president announced it in January.
Half (50%) of U.S. voters believe the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror.
Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters now rate Obama as good or excellent on national security issues.
1* How closely have you followed news reports about the release of government memos about the Bush administration’s interrogation of terrorism suspects?
45% Very closely
32% Somewhat closely
16% Not very closely
6% Not at all
1% Not sure
2* Did the United States torture terrorism suspects?
21% Not sure
3*Should the Obama administration do more investigating to find out how the Bush administration treated terrorism suspects?
13% Not sure
4* Does the release of CIA memos on interrogation techniques help the image of the United States abroad or does it endanger the national security of the United States?
28% Helps the image of the United States abroad
58% Endangers the national security of the United States
14% Not sure
5* Some people say that there is a natural tension between protecting individual rights and national security. In the United States today, does our legal system worry too much about protecting individual rights, too much about protecting national security, or is the balance about right?
37% Legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights
21% Legal system worries too much about protecting national security
33% Balance is about right
9% Not sure