New Poll: Nuclear Weapons for Some Encourage Nuclear Weapons for All

CONTACT: Burton Glass, 434.971.1224,
FOR RELEASE TODAY: Thursday, August 28, 2008
WASHINGTON DC — Possession of nuclear weapons by some countries encourages others to develop their own nuclear arsenals, according to more than two-thirds of U.S. adults in a new opinion survey.
The findings, released before tomorrow’s anniversary of nuclear proliferation, when the Soviet Union successfully tested its first nuclear bomb nearly 60 years ago, suggest the world needs a broader approach for preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.
“Americans understand that ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ is advice that is falling on deaf ears,” said Susan Gordon, director of the nonprofit Alliance for Nuclear Accountability. “By clinging to thousands of these weapons, the nuclear nations of the world send the wrong message and make us all less secure.
“It’s up to the next president to lead the world toward a nuclear weapons-free world, as part of his strategy to stop the spread of nuclear weapons,” she said.
Gordon added that a growing number of conservatives such as former secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Schultz are now advocates of this approach. Both U.S. presidential candidates, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), endorse the goal of a nuclear weapons-free world.
Of those surveyed, 68 percent of U.S. adults believe possession of nuclear weapons by the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea encourages countries without nuclear weapons to develop them.
Twenty-two percent of adults said it had no impact, and 11 percent said it discouraged development.
The survey was sponsored by the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World and written and conducted by Harris Interactive®. Survey respondents answered this question:
Nine (9) countries – the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, and North Korea – currently have nuclear weapons. The major nuclear powers have attempted to persuade other nations to not develop nuclear weapons. What impact do you think the possession of nuclear weapons by these countries has on other countries that do not currently possess nuclear weapons – do you think it discourages them from developing nuclear weapons, encourages them to develop nuclear weapons, or has no impact on their developing nuclear weapons?
The Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons-Free World is a consortium of more than 80 organizations promoting practical steps today to free the world from nuclear weapons tomorrow. For details about the survey methodology or more information about the campaign, visit:
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This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the Campaign for a Nuclear Weapons Free World between August 12 and August 14, 2008 among 2,345 adults ages 18+.
Results were weighted as needed on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, and race/ethnicity. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys.
The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population.
Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
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Burton Glass
Hairpin Communications

Susan Gordon

Alliance for Nuclear Accountability
1400 Maclovia, #6
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505-438-2415 fax

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