It’s worth comparing the data to older polls. Regarding Guantanamo, overall 70% of respondents agreed with President Obama on keeping Guantanamo open. But in June 2009, more Americans favored closing the facility than keeping it open. In 2006, only 57% of Americans supported using the Guantanamo detention center house accused terrorists. Even in 2003, support was only at 65%. Now, under the leadership of a President who campaigned with the promise to close the facility but reneged, support for the detention center may be at its highest level ever.
The Pew Research Center released a poll last year that demonstrated a similar shift of support by Democrats on the Patriot Act. In 2006 under the Republican Bush, 25% of Democrats viewed the Act as a “necessary tool” and 53% thought it went too far. Five years later under the Democrat Obama, 35% of Democrats said the Act was necessary, while only 40% thought it went too far. Republicans, on the other hand, showed less support for the Act in 2011 than they did under Bush.
This is a very limited supply of information, ACED realizes, certainly not enough to draw firm conclusions. However, the polling data suggests that a significant number of people who identify as belonging to a political party (a) change their values to conform to the policies of their party, and/or (b) change their values to oppose the leader of the other party. Either is totally inconsistent with a citizen’s role in a democracy.
American politics, part deux