The public continues to support U.S. drone strikes targeting extremists in Pakistan and elsewhere, despite ongoing concerns that drone attacks endanger lives of innocent civilians.
The national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted May 12-18 among 2,002 adults, finds that 58% approve of the U.S. conducting missile strikes from drones to target extremists in such countries as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. About a third (35%) disapprove of U.S. drone attacks.
Public opinion about U.S. drone strikes has changed only modestly since February 2013, when 56% approved and 26% disapproved of drone attacks. Support for drone strikes crosses party lines, though Republicans (74%) are more likely than independents (56%) or Democrats (52%) to favor the use of drones to target extremists.As in so many things, the United States is an outlier. Last year, Pew reported:
Another high-profile aspect of America’s recent national security strategy is also widely unpopular: drones. In 39 of 44 countries surveyed, majorities or pluralities oppose U.S. drone strikes targeting extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Moreover, opposition to drone attacks has increased in many nations since last year. Israel, Kenya and the U.S. are the only nations polled where at least half of the public supports drone strikes.