Washington, Feb.9: A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that President Barack Obama has relied on armed drones far more than his predecessor George W. Bush, and expanded their use beyond America’s defined war zones to counter terrorists.
The Post-ABC News poll found that 83 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s drone policy, which administration officials refuse to discuss, citing security concerns.
The president only recently acknowledged the drone program, which some human rights advocates say operates without a clear legal framework and in violation of the U.S. prohibition against assassination.
But 77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones, meaning that Obama is unlikely to suffer any political consequences as a result of his policy in this election year.
Support for drone strikes against suspected terrorists stays high, dropping only somewhat when respondents are asked specifically about targeting American citizens living overseas, as was the case with Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni American killed in September in a drone strike in northern Yemen.
The poll also says that Obama, who campaigned on a pledge to close Guantanamo Bay and to change national security policies, has little to fear politically for failing to live up to all of those promises.
Republican attacks on Obama’s national security policies, the poll suggests, may do more harm than good to GOP presidential candidates at a time when many Americans favor a national security approach that relies more on technology than troops.
According to the Washington Post, over two to one Americans say Obama’s handling of terrorism is a major reason to support rather than oppose his bid for re-election later this year.
The survey shows that 70 percent of respondents approve of Obama’s decision to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open.
He pledged during his first week in office to close the prison within a year. But he has not done so.
Even the party base appears willing to forgive that failure.
The poll shows that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats – and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats – support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed.
The poll was conducted by telephone from Feb. 1 to 4, among a random national sample of 1,000 adults. The margin of error for the full survey is plus or minus four percentage points. (ANI)