FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Drones and Polls: Signs for Hope?

A new survey just released by the Pew Research Center  found that respondents have become much more likely to voice their disapproval over the U.S. drone assassination program. In a phone survey conducted from May 12-18, 2015, Pew found that 35 of every 100 respondents said they disapproved “of the United States conducting [drone strikes] to target extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” The complete report of Pew’s methodology indicates that the last time they asked this particular question was from February 7-10, 2013. In that survey, only 26 of every 100 respondents disapproved, so in the span of two years the disapproval rate shot up by 9 points, constituting a 34% increase.

Approval for the drone program went up, too, though not as dramatically. Between 2013 and 2015, responses of approval increased from 56 to 58 per 100, a change which is actually smaller than the survey’s stated margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

The remaining portion of respondents who said they didn’t know or who refused to answer decreased by 11 percentage points between 2013 and 2015, and people who publicly advocate for an end to the drone assassination program have won more of them over to their side: apparently by a factor of 4 and a half.

Yet much of the media that have reported on this survey would have you believe that there has come to be a solid bulwark of support for the drone program. A sampling of recent headlines:

Pew Research Center: “Public Continues to Back U.S. Drone Attacks”

Politico: “Poll: Americans overwhelmingly support drone strikes”

The Hill: “Majority of Americans support US drone strikes, survey says”

Times of India: “Majority of Americans support drone strikes in Pakistan: Survey”

Al-Jazeera: “Poll finds strong support for drone strikes among Americans”

AFP: “Nearly 60 per cent of Americans back drone strikes overseas: Pew survey”

The Nation: “Americans support drone strikes: poll”

While some of the headlines are technically true, the analyses inside the stories paint a different picture than reality, as I have not seen any discussion about trends or any comparisons of the 2015 survey to earlier ones.

The most pernicious headline, perhaps, comes from Pew itself. The Pew writers presumably read their own survey reports, yet they claim a continuity of public backing which is not demonstrated by the data. Suppose a gambler wins 20 dollars but loses 90; is that breaking even?

Regardless of what media will or will not say, there is a hot story here: drone opponents are making progress in convincing the public that drone strikes are not a wise or moral course of action for the United States to pursue. We might be approaching a breakthrough moment if we keep up our momentum.

Buddy Bell co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence. He can be reached at: buddy@vcnv.org.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Buddy Bell co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare.

July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
Patrick Cockburn
Is ISIS About to Lose Its Last Stronghold in Syria?
Joseph Grosso
The Invisible Class: Workers in America
Kim Ives
Haiti’s Popular Uprising Calls for President Jovenel Moïse’s Removal
John Carroll Md
Dispatch From Haiti: Trump and Breastfeeding
Alycee Lane
On Heat Waves and Climate Resistance
Ed Meek
Dershowitz the Sophist
Howard Lisnoff
Liberal Massachusetts and Recreational Marijuana
Ike Nahem
Trump, Trade Wars, and the Class Struggle
Olivia Alperstein
Kavanaugh and the Supremes: It’s About Much More Than Abortion
Manuel E. Yepe
Korea After the Handshake
Robert Kosuth
Militarized Nationalism: Pernicious and Pervasive
Binoy Kampmark
Soft Brexits and Hard Realities: The Tory Revolt
Helena Norberg-Hodge
Localization: a Strategic Alternative to Globalized Authoritarianism
Kevin Zeese - Nils McCune
Correcting The Record: What Is Really Happening In Nicaragua?
Chris Wright
The American Oligarchy: A Review
Kweli Nzito
Imperial Gangster Nations: Peddling “Democracy” and Other Goodies to the Untutored
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail