Poll: Large majority backs drone strikes against US terrorists
© Getty Images

A survey released on Friday revealed that nearly 75 percent of U.S. voters favor the use of targeted drone strikes against Americans who have joined terrorist groups overseas.

More than half approve of the use of unmanned aerial aircraft against terrorists in general, according to the Associated Press/GfK poll.


Another 13 percent oppose the use of drones strikes, while 24 percent expressed no opinion either way.

Some 47 percent of those surveyed would back drone strikes where law-abiding Americans were possible collateral damage. Less than half of those who would initially favor using the devices, in fact, would keep the same opinion should they risk innocent American lives.

The AP poll comes after President Obama’s admission on April 23 that drones had inadvertently killed two hostages during strikes on suspected terrorists. In that incident, a strike against al Qaeda accidentally killed Warren Weinstein, an American, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian citizen.

The White House revealed the incident also resulted in the unplanned death of Ahmed Farouq, a U.S. citizen who had joined the terrorist organization.

The poll additionally found that overall approval of drones as a counterterrorism strategy remains bipartisan.

Nearly 60 percent of Democrats approve of the strikes, it found, while only 16 percent were opposed. Seventy-two percent of GOP respondents back using drones, with 10 percent opposed.

Independents’ support of the vehicles was more measured, the survey found. Of those voters, 45 percent were in favor and 12 percent were opposed. An additional 37 percent remained neutral on the issue.

The AP said drone strikes began in 2002. The New America Foundation, which tracks the bombings, said 396 strikes have happened in Pakistan and another 126 in Yemen since then.

The AP poll surveyed 1,077 adults online April 23-27. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.