Most Americans support charges against Bergdahl if he deserted

Most Americans support charges against Bergdahl if he deserted

More Americans disapprove than approve of the prisoner exchange that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity – especially if it’s established that he deserted his post. And if he did desert, nearly three-quarters say Bergdahl should be charged with a crime.

Fifty-one percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll are critical of the deal, in which the Obama administration exchanged five Taliban detainees for Bergdahl; 39 percent approve, and strong disapprovers outnumber strong approvers by 2-1.

See PDF with full results, charts and tables here.

Moreover, if it’s found that Bergdahl deserted his post before his capture five years ago, as some reports have suggested, disapproval of the exchange rises to 63 percent, and more, 73 percent, support charging him with a military crime.

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The May 31 prisoner exchange has been fraught with controversy, with the president criticized for not informing Congress of the swap in advance and for negotiating with Bergdahl’s captors. The president, in response, has said it’s his responsibility not to leave U.S. service members behind.

GROUPS – Views of the administration’s actions divide sharply by partisanship and ideology in this poll, produced by ABC for Langer Research Associates. Six in 10 Democrats and liberals support the prisoner swap; moderates split about evenly. Fifty-six percent of independents disapprove of the exchange, rising to seven in 10 conservatives and 78 percent of Republicans.

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