The research found up to 70 percent of UK adults feel it is wrong to sell arms to dictatorships. Of the remaining 30 percent who condone selling arms to dictators, more than half are men.
The news comes as the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair takes place in London, attended by a large number of prospective buyers from authoritarian regimes around the world.
The survey is just the latest blow to one of Britain’s last remaining manufacturing sectors – an industry heavily subsidized by the taxpayer.
On Monday it was announced that rules governing the industry since 1968 would be subject to sweeping reviews.
The new Single Source Regulations Office (SSRO) – a Ministry of Defence (MoD) initiative that began in January – is expected to do away with existing guidelines on how arms companies profit.