US public supports Obama's drone programme: Poll

Published: February 9, 2012
Obama has been backed by the public over his controversial drone programme and decision to bring troops back home early. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

Obama has been backed by the public over his controversial drone programme and decision to bring troops back home early. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

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.


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Reader Comments (33)

  • Tim Hover
    Feb 9, 2012 - 7:15AM

    American chose him so they want to support every illegal decisions and war crimes of thier elected president, after all they elected bush as well who gave Iraqi people the gift of democracy.


  • Ali
    Feb 9, 2012 - 8:05AM

    It will be a good idea to mention here the average IQ and general knowledge of the US public as well. It will put things in perspective for everyone. Most of them don’t even know what a drone is.


  • From Toronto With Love
    Feb 9, 2012 - 9:15AM

    And then they wonder why the world hate us. They dont even know where Pakistan is on the world map let alone N waziristan yet they support killing.


  • Noor
    Feb 9, 2012 - 9:21AM

    It is because of US Engineered Media propaganda that people have been convinced.


  • Bilafond
    Feb 9, 2012 - 9:41AM

    Will the Americans support drone attacks on lets say NY, DC, etc etc etc etc.


  • JD
    Feb 9, 2012 - 9:43AM

    fair polls, fair elections… they’re myths…. no?


  • American Pakistani
    Feb 9, 2012 - 9:54AM

    @Ali You nailed it.


  • Mirza
    Feb 9, 2012 - 10:07AM

    Drones are gift from haven to punish the terrorists who are victimizing the poor civilians and hiding behind the innocent public. The Drones are in their first innings of a nine innings game and are going to be used more than any other weapon in the war against terrorism. There is tremendous potential in this technology much to the chagrin of terrorists and their apologists.


  • Asad
    Feb 9, 2012 - 10:20AM

    Loving how this feel-good poll sprang up just around the US election season. Must be a total coincidence.


  • Realist
    Feb 9, 2012 - 10:33AM

    I guess if an Afghan or Pashtun living in the tribal belt now kills American civilians for drone policies of US Govt. that resulted in death of his family; he would be justified.


  • cosmo
    Feb 9, 2012 - 10:39AM

    @Tim Hover:
    if rulers of Pakistan can go to any extent to promote worldwide mayhem to run their unruly country then why cant the world fire few missiles in return.


  • cosmo
    Feb 9, 2012 - 10:40AM

    and rulers of Pakistan are so truthful and trustworthy? !!!


  • ZSK
    Feb 9, 2012 - 11:00AM

    Sitting in the other part of the world, the Americans are only responding to the version which is shown to them by the American government. The response would definitely be different if the American government does not filter facts that should be known to their public and the rest of the world (in particular, of the collateral damage being done here and its long term repercusions) or if they experience an attack of the same kind on their ‘national security’ or ‘sovereignty’ which is and has always been of prime concern to them!


  • Imran
    Feb 9, 2012 - 11:04AM

    Pakistanis do too!


  • Raj - USA
    Feb 9, 2012 - 11:59AM

    Totally agree with you.


  • Junaid Zafar
    Feb 9, 2012 - 12:15PM

    In 2006, the National Geographic Society conducted a survey in which it interviewed 510 young American people aged 18 to 24 — about geography.This survey concluded that most respondents couldn’t find the United Kingdom, Egypt, and Indonesia on a world map.More than 60 percent couldn’t find Iraq and guess what,Nine in ten couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map of Asia (not a map of world !) …How can the Us public,lets say support war on iraq when they dont even know where is it?

    With the I.Q of a lemon that the US public has,they will support anything that you tell them Sir!


  • Feb 9, 2012 - 12:40PM

    media tells americans, the most enlightened and educated nation, that what should they think, what should they ask and what should they vote for...simply pathetic

  • Feb 9, 2012 - 12:55PM

    And what about Pak public, isn’t its a good idea to conduct polls here too???


  • friend of pakistan
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:44PM

    so you are trying to say that pakistani people are more TECHNO FRIENDLY…..just because u people are feeling the heat of drone attack on daily basis. go get a life!!!


  • Truth writer
    Feb 9, 2012 - 1:45PM


    Well said it is a gift from heaven to punish terrorists by the bigger terrorists (USA).


  • Tony C.
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:32PM

    I am not really sure who Mirza is referring to when he talks about “a gift from haven”, but let us presume he means the God of Heaven mentioned in the Old Testament. The other problem I am having is, who plays nine innings in a sport, perhaps he means Baseball. If that is so I think he could have spelled it out more clearly, dropped the nine innings and referred to Cricket, to me, a much more satisfactory sport. However, It becomes confusing now because in one sentence we have brought in Religous and sporting factors to decide how to punish people, some of whom are completely innocent. Now my God would never make a gift of killing machines to anybody, and cricketers would never kill anybody so perhaps the gift came from another powerful entity.


  • Feb 9, 2012 - 4:37PM

    They are pushing Pakistan to a place from where red button may get pushed. And that will be devastating. People of Pakistan, each of them hate U.S. more than the militants they kill.
    Once a enemy is always a enemy, Pakistan may punch into face, and that will be very disgraceful for U.S.


  • Write it!
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:42PM

    They support it because they dont want their soldiers getting killed. US wont leave the region so the public prefers drones over soldiers. Its as simple as that.


  • Roflcopter
    Feb 9, 2012 - 4:58PM

    So US is the biggest terrorist nation confirmed?


  • Ali
    Feb 9, 2012 - 7:37PM

    @Friend of Pakistan: It is about IQ and general knowledge not about how technically aware public is. Recommend

  • David Salmon
    Feb 10, 2012 - 12:13AM

    Ignorant does not equal stupid. A recent survey of schoolchildren in KP “showed that 58 per cent children couldn’t do two-digit subtraction and 77 per cent three-digit subtraction.” The average IQ of Americans and Pakistanis and KP students is very likely the same: average. One thing the poll does establish is that Obama will not be under political pressure to alter his terrorism policy.


  • G. Din
    Feb 10, 2012 - 1:14AM

    “Will the Americans support drone attacks on lets say NY, DC, etc etc etc etc. “
    Yes, they will if:
    1. terrorists from NY, DC, etc etc etc had attacked their homeland;
    2. those terrorists were not surrendered to be brought to justice;
    3. there were other terrorists continuing to plot against their homeland in those areas;
    4. the governments of those places could not exercise jurisdiction over those areas and at the same time refused permission to US to enter those areas to ferret out those terrorists;
    5. governments of those places played duplicitous and crooked, taking money , promising to deliver and never doing so.
    I am not an American but I make those assertions with some confidence because all those actions would be reasonable and rational of any legitimate government. Pakistan is used to the impotence of its neighours. Well, America is not your neighour.


  • G. Din
    Feb 10, 2012 - 1:25AM

    “@Friend of Pakistan: It is about IQ and general knowledge not about how technically aware public is.”
    How many Pakistanis can point out United States on a world map? Not more than a minuscule number!
    If that is sowith respect to a country which lets Pakistan fake sovereignty with bushel-full of dollars every now and then, why would you expect an American to be able to point out Pakistan on a world map? They are handing over such bushel-fulls to so many countries that they have lost their count. Just because one can read alif, be, pe… does not make him/her a genius to look disdainfully at others!


  • Imran Mohammad
    Feb 10, 2012 - 1:43AM

    According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ph.D., former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter ( watch PBS interview of Feb 8th), American public is the least informed, least knowledgeable public, of all developed countries, about world affairs. Read that statement with this poll, you can get the picture !!!!


  • Johnny
    Feb 10, 2012 - 1:51AM

    It doesnt matter what the average IQ of a nation is. At the top level, within the government and within their education and research organisations, US has the best brains in the world. They are super power for a reason. US may have a faulty foreign policy but their internal affairs offer justice, equal rights and peace to its citizens. There are problems in every society so just one or two persectives can not be used to judge on an overall basis.


  • Cautious
    Feb 10, 2012 - 3:25AM

    @Ali. Last I looked the USA ranked 20th in terms of literacy coming in a 99% – Pakistan was ranked 160th – that’s below Haiti and Papua New Guinea. When it comes to IQ I don’t think you should be critical of anyone.


  • Ali
    Feb 10, 2012 - 12:00PM

    @All the geniuses here: I never compared the public of US with the public of Pakistan. Neither did I talk about literacy rates. You guys need some lessons in English as well, I suppose.


  • Ali
    Feb 10, 2012 - 12:05PM

    @David Salmon: I agree.


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