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12/06/2013 07:35 am ET Updated 4 days ago

Americans Aren't Sure If They Like The Idea Of Amazon Drones

Americans aren't so sure they like the idea of allowing Amazon to deploy a fleet of miniature delivery drones, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Most of them also believe the plan could become a reality within the next decade.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos told "60 Minutes" last week that his company hopes to roll out deliveries directly to customers' doorsteps via miniature drones, which the company calls "octocopters," within the next 4-5 years.

The poll found Americans are largely undecided about whether an Amazon drone delivery program is a good idea or a bad one, with 23 percent saying it's a good idea, 36 percent saying it's a bad idea, and another 41 percent saying they're not sure.

The uncertainty is not surprising, given that only 24 percent of respondents said they had heard a lot about Bezos' announcement. Another 44 percent said that they had heard a little about it, and 32 percent had heard nothing at all.

But the poll also found that people are worried about allowing private companies' delivery drones to take over the sky. Forty-four percent said that they oppose allowing companies to deliver packages via unmanned drones, while only 31 percent said they were in favor. Twenty-six percent said they weren't sure.

And 47 percent of respondents said they think allowing private companies to use drone delivery would be unsafe, while only 18 percent said it would be safe.

That anxiety was apparent when respondents were asked to choose one or more word to describe Amazon's plan. While 31 percent said they thought the idea was "cool," an equal 31 percent described it as "scary." Twenty-three percent described it as "goofy."

But notably, although many analysts have questioned whether Amazon will be able to follow through on the aerial delivery plan, only 10 percent of poll respondents described the idea as "impossible."

In fact, the survey finds most think drone delivery will be possible within the next decade or less.

According to the new poll, 38 percent of Americans think Amazon will be able to deliver packages by drone within the next 5 years, as Bezos said he hopes to do, while another 18 percent said they think it be possible within 10 years. Another 6 percent said drone delivery will take 10 to 20 years to become a reality, 3 percent said it will be more than 20, and 10 percent said it will never happen. A quarter said they weren't sure.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Dec. 2-3 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reversed the percentage of respondents who thought Amazon's plan was a good idea and a bad idea.

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