The survey, taken between April 23 and April 27, shows that 13 percent of respondents oppose the use of armed drones while 24 percent feel neutral about it.
The latest survey comes days after President Barack Obama publicly apologized for a CIA drone strike in Yemen that unintentionally killed American hostage Warren Weinstein and Italian hostage Giovanni Lo Porto. The attack also killed Ahmed Farouq, an American citizen who became an Al-Qaeda operative. A separate strike killed Adam Gadhani, an American citizen who joined Al-Qaeda and became Osama Bin Laden's spokesman.
According to the survey, 56 percent of poll takers support the use of drones against targets overseas when there is a threat to American lives.
More than 4 out of 10 responders, who initially said they were in favor of drone strikes or felt neutral about the issue, said they would oppose the use of drones when innocent Americans could be killed.
Sarah Kreps, an associate professor in Cornell University’s Department of Governance, says that support for drone strikes dramatically dips when survey takers are presented with information about foreign civilian casualties.
396 drone attacks have been executed in Pakistan and 126 have been carried out in Yemen since 2002, according to the New America Foundation, which tracks drone strikes through media reports.
The CIA leads all drone operations in Pakistan and most in Yemen. The Obama Administration has recently said that drone strikes would not be carried out in Yemen unless there was a “near certainty that no civilians will be harmed.”
That policy does not apply to Pakistan, which the Obama Administration considers part of the Afghan theater in the War on Terror. The recent drop in attacks there is associated with the success of the American initiative in dismantling much of the country’s core Al-Qaeda.