A 50-Point Swing Against Targeted Drone Killings of U.S. Citizens

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 25 2013 10:08 AM

A 50-Point Swing Against Targeted Drone Killings of U.S. Citizens

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Drones hang on display in the exposition hall of the Border Security Expo on March 12, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

A year ago, as the presidential race was taking shape, The Washington Post's pollster asked voters whether they favored the use of drones to kill terrorists or terror suspects if they were "American citizens living in other countries." The net rating at the time was positive: 65 percent for, 26 percent against.

Today, after a month of Rand Paul-driven discussion of drone warfare, Gallup asks basically the same question: Should the U.S. "use drones to launch airstrikes in other countries against U.S. citizens living abroad who are suspected terrorists?" The new numbers: 41 percent for, 52 percent against.

The lede of the poll is even kinder to Paul, finding as high as 79 percent opposition to targeted killing in the United States. But that's a new question. On the old question, we've seen a real queasy swing of public opinion.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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