GITMO CRITICISM HAVING AN EFFECT…. The Republican talking points on closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay don’t make any sense. They’re working anyway.

Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to closing the detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay and moving some of the detainees to prisons on U.S. soil, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds.

By more than 2-1, those surveyed say Guantanamo shouldn’t be closed. By more than 3-1, they oppose moving some of the accused terrorists housed there to prisons in their own states.

For lawmakers in both parties who’ve been reluctant to do the right thing, poll results like these make necessary changes even more difficult. Indeed, there may well be a chicken/egg problem here — did lawmakers balk because they feared a negative public reaction, or is the public’s reaction negative because they saw lawmakers balk? It’s at least plausible that the poll results would have been better if Americans heard more political leaders sounding more sensible on the subject.

USA Today‘s report added, “It is one of the few subjects on which most Americans side with the views of the Bush administration over its successor.”

Let’s not forget that this isn’t quite true — George W. Bush spoke frequently and publicly about closing Gitmo, as did Bush’s Defense Secretary, Bush’s Secretary of State, the man Bush tapped to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and the man Bush tapped to serve as head of U.S. Central Command.

Nevertheless, poll results like these make a challenging task all the more difficult, and enable cowardly politicians to be even more craven.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.