Only 38% of Americans agree with Brittney Griner prisoner swap

Inna D
Brittney Griner escorted to Russian court room in AugustPhoto byAlexander Zemlianichenko, AP

Brittney Griner, an American WNBA player, was arrested in February 2022 on smuggling charges in Russia for vape cartridges containing hash oil. In May, the U.S. State Department announced she was "wrongfully detained", and being used as leverage as a result on U.S. sanctions against Russia due to the Russia/Ukraine war.

On December 8th, she was traded in a 1-1 prisoner swap with Victor Bout, a Russian arms dealer who had served 10 years of his 25-year federal prison sentence. Brittney was flown back to the U.S. and reunited with her wife upon release.

However, Americans have opinions about this prisoner swap. According to a YouGov America survey of 1,500 U.S. adults, only 38% agree with the release of Griner for Bout.

  • 47% of U.S. citizens "strongly or somewhat disapprove" of the prisoner swap
  • 66% of Democrats "strongly or somewhat agree" with the swap, while 76% of Republicans disagree
  • 56% of Black Americans agree with the release of Griner for Bout while the percentage for White Americans is just 35%
  • 16% of U.S. adults still are unsure of their opinion

Marine Paul Whelan is still held in Russia's prison under espionage charges, as the U.S. government was unable to secure his release.
Paul Whelan, former U.S. marine, waits for courtroom hearing in MoscowPhoto byAlexander Zemlianichenko/AP Photo
  • 59% of Americans think the U.S. government should be doing more to get him released
  • That number includes 52% of Democrats, while 79% of Republicans believe the same
  • 30% of Democrats believe the U.S. government is doing "about the right amount" to secure Whelan's release, while just 8% of Republicans believe the same

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