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Voters Favor Military Tribunals, Keeping Terror Suspects Outside U.S.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is urging Congress not to pass pending legislation that would ban the transfer of terrorism suspects from the Guantanamo prison camp in Cuba to the United States for any reason. The Obama administration plans to try some of those suspects in U.S. courts.

But a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that a plurality (46%) of Likely U.S. Voters favor a ban on transferring the suspected terrorists to this country. Thirty-two percent (32%) oppose such a ban, while 23% more are not sure about it. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Voters remain strongly opposed to trying those suspects in U.S. courts. Sixty-three percent (63%) say instead that they should be tried before military tribunals. Only 23% prefer civilian courts, and 13% are undecided.

Support for the tribunals is up from 54% in July 2008 when the first such military trial began at the Guantanamo Naval Base.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on December 11-12, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Do most voters think the suspected terrorists should enjoy the same legal rights as U.S. citizens? Does the Political Class support a ban on bringing Guantanamo prisoners to the United States? Become a Platinum member and find out. 

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