Americans Generally Support Drone Strikes - Though Many Worry About Civilian Deaths

May 29, 2013, 2:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 5/25/2013) Last week, the President talked about the merits and the weaknesses of drone strikes against high-level terrorism suspects - especially the potential for civilian deaths caused by drones. Americans in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll favor the use of drones - though many aren’t sure. But support drops when the possible killing of innocent civilians becomes part of the question.

Fewer than half of those who support drone strikes in principle continue to favor them if civilians are killed. But more than three in four continue to support them even if American citizens might be killed.

Republicans are as likely as Democrats to favor the use of drones by the Administration in general, and they are even more likely to support their use even if innocent civilians are killed. In that circumstance, half of Republicans who favor drones would still support them, while just 43% of Democrats would.

Americans aren’t sure about whether the Administration has ordered too many or too few drone strikes, but almost as many think there haven’t been enough as believe there have been too many. Nearly one in five Republicans say the Administration should have used more strikes.