WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has overwhelming support from American voters for his use of drone strikes against terror suspects and his planned troop drawdown in Afghanistan, a poll found Wednesday.
Obama, who signed off on the US special forces raid which killed Osama bin Laden last year, also enjoys a wide edge over his likely Republican election foe Mitt Romney on national security and foreign policy, the poll showed.
Eighty-three per cent of those asked in the Washington Post/ABC News survey said they backed Obama’s use of unmanned drone aircraft against suspected militants in the tribal belt of Pakistan. The programme has drawn the ire of the Pakistani public and some civil liberties groups who have termed the drone as illegal and its victims as being murdered extra judiciously.
The president publicly acknowledged the drone strikes for the first time in a Google+ and YouTube interview last month, and that such attacks had been authorised against targets in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Seventy-eight per cent of those asked approved of Obama’s plans to draw down troops in Afghanistan, despite fierce criticism of the president’s strategy from Republican presidential candidates, including Romney.
Voters were also asked whether they approved of the decision to keep the Guantanamo Bay war on terror detention facility in Cuba open and 70 per cent approved.
Obama had vowed to close the camp, which he said was a recruiting tool for terrorists, shortly after taking office in 2009, but due to congressional opposition and complications in dispersing inmates, has so far been unable to do so.
Respondents also trusted him more on international affairs by a 56 to 37 percent margin.
The survey contained the latest evidence that Obama’s conduct as US commander-in-chief has wiped out the traditional edge Republicans have had over Democrats in national security policy.