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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the United States did the right thing by dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago, according to a new poll.
Older voters, men and Republicans favored the attacks more than younger people, women and Democrats, the survey of 2,409 registered voters by Quinnipiac University showed.
Asked whether the United States "did the right thing or the wrong thing by dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki," Republicans said it was the right thing to do by a margin of 74 to 13 percent, while Democrats favored it 49 to 29 percent.
People over 55 years old favored it by 73 to 13 percent while people aged 18 to 34 favored it 50 to 32 percent.
Men approved of the attacks 72 to 17 percent versus 51 to 27 percent for women.
Blacks and Hispanics were split. Blacks said it was the wrong thing to do by 36 to 34 percent. Hispanics said it was the right thing to do by 44 to 43 percent.
The United States dropped single bombs on the two Japanese cities in August 1945, killing tens of thousands immediately and many more later from radiation sickness.
Americans widely credit the attacks with ending World War Two, believing they may have saved lives because Japan would not have surrendered otherwise.
Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said American support has remained firm over the decades, though it was down from 85 percent approval in a Gallup poll conducted shortly after the bombings.
Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Michelle Nichols and Patricia Reaney