POLITICS
03/25/2013 12:18 pm ET | Updated Mar 25, 2013

Poll: Americans Support Drone Strikes Abroad, Not On U.S. Soil

A majority of Americans support drone attacks on suspected terrorists abroad, but disapprove of the use of drones in other situations, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

Sixty-five percent of those polled said the government should launch drone strikes in other countries against suspected terrorists. More than half, however, said the government should not use such strikes if those terrorists are U.S. citizens.

Opinion was solidly against the use of drone strikes within the U.S., with two-thirds opposing any domestic air strikes against terrorists and 79 percent opposing domestic air strikes that would target U.S. citizens.

After a 13-hour filibuster earlier this month led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the White House said that the president did not have the authority to order such drone strikes against Americans not engaged in combat on U.S. soil.

Republicans were the most likely to support the use of drones, with a majority supporting strikes against terrorists abroad regardless of nationality. They were also the most likely to be paying attentions to news about drones, although few Americans of any party said they were following the issue very closely.

Other recent polling has shown varying levels of support for drone strikes. A Fox News poll found that 74 percent of Americans support such strikes against terrorists overseas, while a HuffPost/YouGov poll found a smaller majority approved, with many more undecided.

Moreover, the HuffPost/YouGov poll found that support for drone strikes against terrorist suspects overseas drops significantly if civilians might be killed in the strike. Most Americans also said that the drone program should be used only to target high-level terrorists, rather than to hit anyone associated with a terrorist group.

The Gallup poll surveyed 1,020 adults by phone on March 20 and 21.

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