New Poll Finds 57 Percent of Americans Think Obama's Assassination Program Is Unconstitutional

Defence Images / photo on flickrDefence Images / photo on flickrA new Reason-Rupe poll finds that a majority of Americans think President Obama's targeted killing program, which famously allowed the CIA to assassinate an American-born Muslim cleric living in Yemen as well has his American-born teenage son, to be unconstitutional.

When asked if they thought it was "constitutional or unconstitutional for the president of the United States to order the killing of American citizens who are suspected of being terrorists," 57 percent of respondents said they thought it was unconstitutional, including 65 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents, and 44 percent of Democrats.

Thirty-one percent of respondents said it was constitutional for the president to kill Americans suspected of being terrorists, including 40 percent of Democrats, 27 percent of Republicans, and 28 percent of independents.

As evidenced by several different questions, Americans have strong negative feelings about drones. One question asked, When it comes to the use of drones, how concerned are you that the government may abuse its power...a lot, some, not too much, or not at all? In response, 32 percent of respondents said "a lot," 27 percent said "some," 19 percent said "not too much," and only 17 percent said "not at all."

Forty percent of respondents, including 34 percent of Democrats, 36 percent of Republicans, and 47 percent of independents, said they were very worried that local police would use drones to invade their privacy; fully 60 percet said they were worried to some degree or another. Only 21 percent of respondents said they were "not at all" worried about police using drones to invade their privacy.

Respondents were evenly divided over this question: If a drone flew over your house and was recording you and your property without your permission, do you think should have the right to destroy it, or not? Forty-seven percent said yes, 47 percent said no, 4 percent didn't answer, and one percent said, "It depends."

What Reason-Rupe found about Americans' sentiments towards targeted killing contradicts a recent WSJ/NBC poll,  which found that "[a] solid majority, 64%, favored the U.S. policy of targeted assassinations of suspected terrorists by the use of drones in countries such as Yemen and Pakistan."

There's a pretty simple explanation for the conflicting responses, and you can find it in the questions. Reason-Rupe asked:

Do you think it is constitutional or unconstitutional for the president of the United States to order the killing of American citizens who are suspected of being terrorists?

While NBC/WSJ asked: 

As you know, the United States has been targeting and killing suspected members of Al Qaeda and other terrorists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries.  Many of these killings have been conducted using unmanned aircraft that are controlled remotely, also known as drones.  Do you favor or oppose the use of unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, to kill suspected members of Al Qaeda and  other terrorists? If you don't know enough to have an opinion on this issue please just say so.

The NBC/WSJ poll question doesn't distinguish between foreign-born terrorists and Americans suspected of being terrorists. That distinction, as Reason-Rupe found, matters. 

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  • R C Dean||

    Why isn't a Constitution flexible enough to encompass a brand new right to gay marriage also flexible enough to encompass a brand new power to order assassination?

  • John||

    That is right. If

    No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

    means a right to gay marriage, why can't

    The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;

    mean the President has the right to order the deaths of anyone he finds to be making war on the US?

  • Jerryskids||

    Don't terrorists affect interstate commerce as well?

  • wareagle||

    only if they do it right

  • Loki||

    "Something something... necessary and proper mumble mumble."

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's a living constitution, or in this case a killing constitution.

  • Rhino||

    problem is, politicians and the SCOTUS like to validate anything that can be supported by any clause in the Constitution even if it is forbidden by other parts.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Gay marriage recognition. I think the right to same sex marriage exists.

    POST TOPIC DERAILED!

  • mnarayan||

    I don't get it. If the marriage isn't government recognized then how can it exist?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You know, if the state would just revoke your birth certificate like it denies your marriage license, the dronekilling would be extremely constitutional.

  • RightNut||

    Isn't that was the Brits do?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    And they don't even have to contend with constitutional rights.

  • marshaul||

    Hmm. I must have missed the part where the Constitution grants the authority to prefer one group's definition of "marriage" over another.

    I also missed the part where the Constitution grants the president the authority to assassinate citizens.

    Having missed these parts I'm sure you can no doubt cite, I fail to see how you've identified a contradiction.

  • NoAuthority||

    marshaul, you have not posted at least 25 times on OCDO today. Stop playing around on H&R. We are watching.

  • Silvia M. Burgess||

    just as Miguel said I didn't even know that someone can profit $5764 in one month on the computer. did you look at this link... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diP-o_JxysA

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Alas, Americans aren't going to prioritize outrage over terrorists (real or just accused) being dronekilled, even if they are fellow Americans. Of those who are socially aware, the liberals could not care less as long as their guy is doing it, and the conservatives could not care less because we're talking about fighting the terrorism.

  • Hyperion||

    the liberals could not care less as long as their guy is doing it

    Nothing confirms that louder than this:

    57 percent of respondents said they thought it was unconstitutional, including 65 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents, and 44 percent of Democrats

    Liberals, my fucking ass

  • John Galt||

    Democrats are so selectively outraged in these matters it's difficult to not feel embarrassed for them.

  • Rhino||

    Just look at the shock and disbelief on their faces when you point out that Obama is just like Bush.

  • Svenster||

    Correction: The conservatives don't care because they know that someday, it will be their turn at bat.

  • wareagle||

    turn doesn't matter. Conservatives have been anti-terror from the start; no one would believe them if they decided that one more bullet in the terror gun was over the line.

  • Loki||

    terror gun

    I'm kind of surprised Diane Feinstein hasn't used this terminology instead of "assauly weapon".

  • Loki||

    *assault*

  • Rich||

    If a drone flew over your house and was recording you and your property without your permission, do you think should have the right to destroy it, or not? Forty-seven percent said yes, 47 percent said no

    What *is* it with "47 percent"?

    And what if "drone" were changed to "satellite"?

  • ||

    Or airplane.

  • John Galt||

    Or flying saucer.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    And what if "drone" were changed to "satellite"?

    Challenge accepted! Since I used up all my rockets trying to shoot Asteroid DA14 the other day, I'm going to have to find a way to increase power to my roof mount laser emitter...

  • Rich||

    We're talking "right to" here, not necessarily "ability to".

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Your Rights: Use Them or Lose Them!

  • ||

    Have you tried a windmill or solar panels?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't think it's very efficient to launch windmills or solar panels into space as missiles, dummy.

  • ||

    Well the windmills already have that propeller thingy on them. Just spin it faster.

  • ||

    1666

    Destruction of Government Property—18 U.S.C. § 1361
    Section 1361 protects "any property" of the United States or an agency or department thereof, or any property being manufactured or constructed for the United States or an agency or department thereof, from willful depredation or attempted depredation. "Depredation" has been characterized as the act of plundering, robbing, pillaging or laying waste. United States v. Jenkins, 554 F.2d 783, 786 (6th Cir. 1977); cf. Deal v. United States, 274 U.S. 277, 283 (1927) ("depredation" defined in context of postal statute). This section prohibits actual physical damage or destruction of both real and personal property, but mere adverse possession of that property without physical harm is insufficient to violate the law.

    ----

    So if you can hack the drone to land without damage, you're OK. Destroying it is a no-no.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's a drone tax, people. LEGAL.

  • Jerryskids||

    So 43% of the respondents were idiots and 17% downright morons? Or were 43% Obama voters and 17% members of the Obama administration?

    And what would a Venn diagram of those groups look like?

  • wareagle||

    the correct answer is: All of the above.

  • RightNut||

    ...57 percent of respondents said they thought it was unconstitutional, including 65 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents, and 44 percent of Democrats.

    When I saw the headline I automatically assumed that Republicans would have less qualms about the drone program than Democrats. If I'm reading this right the opposite appears to be true. I guess Democrats only worry about civil liberties when a Republican is in office.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    I guess Democrats only worry about civil liberties when a Republican is in office.

    The left has recently been open and honest about trusting this program only because it was Obama running it, and that they would adamantly opposed to it were it a member of Team RED.

  • Ted Levy||

    "Thirty-one percent of respondents said it was constitutional for the president to kill Americans suspected of being terrorists..."

    See, the country would be much better if we could only deport about one-third of it...

  • Loki||

    57 percent of respondents said they thought it was unconstitutional, including 65 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents, and 44 percent of Democrats.

    And what percentage of Democrats would change their minds if a RETHUGLICAN were in office? And vice-versa for Republicans? I'm gonna guess "a lot". In fact the numbers would probably be reversed.

  • ||

    That stat is pretty amazing considering the dems spouting that they are the party of civil liberties. lol. There is no liberty more important than life itself, and more dems are on board with govt. having the power to snuff it w.o. due process than repubs.

    That's pretty amazing to me. Oh wait, I forgot. There is a charismatic democrat in office. That explains everything.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    For the life of me I can't figure out why 1/3 of the populace hated the jug-eared, grinning warmonger of War-on-it Bush, but love the jug-eared, grinning warmonger of Bomb-it-now Obama.

  • Kent||

    Yeah, and like, its okay to kill citizens of other countries but not Americans. How typically American.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Yeah, if countries were smart, they would make a big noise about not assassinating their own citizens, while under-the-table giving lists of undesirable citizens to other countries. So the UK could kill undesirable Americans, the US could kill undesirable Brits and Saudis, and so on.

    Then they could all say that "only foreigners are affected," etc.

  • grey||

    I'm sorry, but I must have missed where the media seemed to care whether or not it was Americans or foreigners killed. I'm sorry again, by foreigner, I meant terrorist. And by American, I meant non Obama voter.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What I think we need is an unambiguous declaration that unless someone has been formally outlawed - that is, given repeated opportunities to appear in court to answer charges of terrorism against Americans but failing to answer the charges - then they should not be singled out *as individuals* as military targets.

    There's some confusion, that "gosh, we kill people in war, don't we" derp derp. The Founding Fathers were aware of this fact but they still insisted that people had civil liberties even in wartime. Funny how that worked, almost as if the Founders were aware that war can be an excuse to destroy individual rights if the people aren't careful.

    So they made a distinction between warfare, which admittedly kills people though not as punishment for crime, and capital punishment, which is inflicted on people found to be personally guilty of some offense or other. Capital punishment was specified as something handed down through judicial process, not kill lists compiled by the executive.

    If we can't recognize that distinction, we may as well give the Bill of Rights a gold watch and retire it.

  • grey||

    I don't see what all the hoopla is about, who cares if the power is reserved in government to kill anyone, anywhere, at any time, for reasons kept completely secret? We should be talking about how government can take and give to others fairly. Ahhh, FAIR, I feel better just saying the word.

  • Manor45||

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  • MamaLiberty||

    Interesting. So murder and assault with intent to kill is fine as long as more than 51% approve? By What Authority? http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?p=1223

    The question not being asked by most of us is: By what legitimate authority? How does anyone legitimately gain authority to control the lives and choices of other people against their will?

    Did you ever ask a politician, a gun grabber, a public school teacher, a bureaucrat… “By what legitimate authority do you demand, order, enforce, do these things?”

    I have. Most, of course, cite the “constitution” and/or “the rule of law.” I then ask them how those things can confer LEGITIMATE authority. Where does legitimate authority over people’s lives and property originate?

    So far, NONE of them can answer that, and most become extremely angry when questioned at all. Yet I would think that is the most important question we can ask.

    And it’s the most important question we can ask ourselves. Do we own our lives, or have we given our sovereign and natural authority over ourselves to the rulers and politicians?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    I'm sure the DoD doesn't give a shit about 57% of Americans disagreeing with one of its newish fav ways to liquidate naughties. On the other side of the coin should mass-based percentages determine what is ethical? I think not. I also think that ethical ratiocination would find that most war is not so much. But who the fuck am I? A fringe percentile that scares more than a few social do-gooders and is ignored by the leftovers.

  • AlgerHiss||

    A poll asking Americans if they think something is or isn’t constitutional: Are you actually serious?

    The American citizen does not know about, nor give a rat’s ass about, any constitution.

    For us to continue this charade, that we have a constitution, is both hilarious and disgusting.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But, Alger, we find 57% of respondents supporting the Constitution. That's good news.

  • HenryC||

    The use of drones for assassination should be illegal. Unfortunately the Congress granted the President war powers to fight terrorism, and assassination is legal in war. Both Democrats and Republicans were guilty, and until they change it will continue to be.

  • jcalton||

    If you ever had any doubts that both parties pay lip-service to their ideals, you can now put that doubt to rest.

    I hate both parties and have for my whole adult life, but 6 years ago there is no way you could have convinced me that Democrats would believe in extra judicial/unconstitutional assassination 20% more often than Republicans.

  • plusafdotcom||

    What a strange thread... nobody seems to mention that after 9-11, some of what we've called "The rules of war" were shattered by the terrorists who acted on that day, as well as before and after that horrible event.

    They have attacked and killed without warning, killed innocents that they have decided were "guilty" of "crimes" they alone defined. They do not belong to any one country, fight under any one country's flag and have not issued any formal declaration of war.

    They just "war" on anyone they don't like, while we sit around wondering whether to keep being nice guys and follow our own moral and ethical "rules of law" while trying to defeat them or kill them.

    I just don't get how people can talk all around those points so much without touching on them HARD.

    In "this kind of war," you don't get to bring the accused into a court and supply them with a public defender. They don't think they're doing anything wrong, and their god is on their side and that's the end of it.

    Just like the cartoon of Obama at the blackboard, writing 100 times "Criminals don't register their guns," there are huge points not being addressed here!

    May this post change that.
    Thanks.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    "while we sit around wondering whether to keep being nice guys and follow our own moral and ethical "rules of law" while trying to defeat them or kill them."

    Yea, fuck ethics and morality. That shit just gets in way of killing and bloody mayhem. Stupid twitwaffle. Get the fuck back on Breitbart where your dumbass belongs.

  • NoAuthority||

    Over the last 40 years more Americans have died by lightening strikes than terrorism. How about a more proportional response than flushing the BoR down the toilet for a few idiots that should be arrested i on US soil and ignored if they are elsewhere?

  • Godly66||

    If you think Francisco`s story is shocking,, five weeks ago my friend's cousin basically also made $9945 just sitting there eleven hours a week from there apartment and there neighbor's step-mother`s neighbour done this for 9-months and brought in more than $9945 in there spare time from a mac. the information here, http://www.wow92.com

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    I am shocked -- was he just sitting there giving non-stop blow-jobs? That seems like some cheap head to me.

  • Mike Moskos||

    In case you want to make your own: http://diydrones.com

    There is an excellent TED talk on drones by P.W. Singer, author of "Wired for War": http://www.ted.com/talks/pw_si.....f_war.html

    Haven't had a chance to read "Wired for War", so I can't comment on it, but it is on my "to read" list.

  • CmdrSlander||

    A side effect of domestic drones is that it gives great credence to the argument that crew served weapons and anti-aircraft weapons are protected by the Second Amendment. If drones are implements of tyranny in the wrong hands then, per the original interpretation of the 2A, we have a right to weapons which can combat them.

  • Brazen||

    If you think Vincent`s story is impressive,, one week ago my brother's mom in law worked and got paid $7370 working fourty hours a month from their apartment and they're friend's ex-wife`s neighbour done this for 8-months and errned over $7370 part-time at there mac. applie the information here, http://www.wow92.com

  • TakinThyBacon||

    I don't think Vincent's story is impressive at all, to be honest Vincent is a douche bag. Oh and you spelled apply wrong asshole

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  • ||

    Given statutes like 18USC242, the President of the United States actually has LESS authority to kill someone who is merely accused of a crime than a private citizen does.

    So how it it that the President can get away with murder, while private citizens can't? So much for the equal protection clause, eh?

  • Waterside||

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  • abella||

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