SAINT LEO, Fla., Dec. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows the public is divided about whether civilian drones would make great package-delivery vehicles or are nuisances that should be banned.
Eighty-four percent of respondents were aware of unmanned aerial vehicles, more popularly known as drones, up slightly from 78.4 percent last year.
As the public has grown more familiar with drones, concern levels have dropped from 73.1 percent to 65.6 percent regarding the presence of drones in airspace. Often-reported reasons for concern this year were interference with airplanes (70 percent) and personal privacy issues (71.5 percent).
There is high support for use of drones by community police departments (72 percent), in warfare (86.3 percent), and as a military alternative to deployment of ground troops (69.1 percent).
More than one-third of respondents, 36.8 percent, see drones having potential benefits to consumer society. They agreed with the statement: "I would be open to receiving deliveries by drone from such companies as Amazon or Wal Mart." Nearly half, 47.9 percent, disagreed with the statement, though.
The survey also found that 43.4 percent of respondents strongly or somewhat agreed that they would support a municipal ban on drones within their own communities. Basically the same proportion, 41.1 percent would not support a drone ban, and 15.5 percent were unsure.
The varying sentiments make for a stalemate in the public sphere, observed Dr. Leo Ondrovic, a member of the Saint Leo University science faculty and a licensed pilot. "You can't want to ban them, and also want to fly them or have them deliver packages."
Ondrovic noted that 21.8 percent of respondents nationally said that they are very or somewhat interested in owning a drone. While the reported ownership interest is down from last year's level of 35.1 percent, retailers of all kinds have been marketing drones heavily this year. And the survey found 9.7 percent of respondents either already have or plan to purchase a drone this holiday season.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about Florida and national politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis' popularity, and other topics, can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.
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SOURCE Saint Leo University Polling Institute