Poll: Most Americans think no nation should have nuclear weapons
- The article unfortunately doesn't mention what
Americans think of America's nuclear weapons, but on
the face of it, the poll seems to imply most Americans
think America should not have nuclear weapons.
Poll: No Nation Should Have Nuke Weapons
Wed Mar 30, 6:40 PM ET
Add to My Yahoo! U.S. National - AP
By WILL LESTER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Though the Soviet Union is gone, the
nuclear fears that fueled the Cold War haven't
disappeared. Most Americans think nuclear weapons are
so dangerous that no country should have them, and a
majority believe it's likely that terrorists or a
nation will use them within five years.
The Bush administration repeatedly warns about nuclear
weapons and is using diplomacy � and force � to try to
limit the threat.
Still, North Korea claims it has nuclear weapons now
and is making more. Iran is widely believed to be
within five years of developing such weapons. And
security for the nuclear material scattered across the
countries of the old Soviet Union remains a major
Lurking in the background is the threat that worries
U.S. officials the most � terrorists' desire to
acquire nuclear weapons.
All that helps explain why 52 percent of Americans
think a nuclear attack by one country against another
is somewhat or very likely by 2010, according to an
AP-Ipsos poll. Fifty-three percent think a nuclear
attack by terrorists is at least somewhat likely.
Two-thirds of Americans say no nation should have
nuclear weapons, including the U.S., and most of the
others say no more countries should get them.
"I worry about Pakistan and India," said Barbara
Smith, who lives in a Philadelphia suburb. "I don't
know what's going to happen with Iran, don't know
what's going to happen with North Korea."
Smith said she wants to see the spread of nuclear
weapons stopped. "It's too dangerous, too many things
can go wrong," she said.
About one-third of those in an ABC News-Washington
Post poll in the mid-1980s � when the Cold War was hot
� thought there would be a nuclear war in the next few
years between the two superpowers.
The AP-Ipsos poll found 44 percent of those surveyed
said they frequently or occasionally worry about a
terrorist attack using nuclear weapons, while 55
percent said they rarely or never do.
"Terrorists are more likely to use a nuclear weapon
because they are unpredictable," said John Saint of
Syracuse, N.Y., who works for a trucking company.
Susan Winter of McLean, Va., says her awareness of the
nuclear threat doesn't cause her to fret constantly.
"I'm concerned, but I don't worry about it," Winter
said. "I'm not a nail biter. I don't lose sleep over
Fears about the use of a nuclear weapon are pretty
evenly spread across all age groups. But a
generational divide emerges when Americans are asked
whether they approve of the United States' decision to
drop atomic bombs on Japan in 1945.
Six in 10 Americans 65 and older approve of the use of
the atomic bomb at the end of World War II, while six
in 10 from 18 to 29 disapprove.
Albert Kauzmann, a 57-year-old resident of Norcross,
Ga., said using the bomb in 1945 "was the best way
they had of ending" World War II.
Overall, 47 percent of those surveyed approved of
dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki while 46
percent disapproved, according to the poll of 1,000
conducted by Ipsos-Public Affairs from March 21-23
with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3
The United States, Britain, Russia, France and China
have nuclear weapons, and Pakistan and India have also
conducted nuclear tests. Many believe Israel has
nuclear weapons, but that country has never
acknowledged it. North Korea claimed in February that
it had nuclear weapons.
The threat from nuclear terrorism is greatest,
analysts say, because terrorists with nuclear weapons
would feel little or no hesitance about using them.
That's why those who monitor nuclear proliferation are
so concerned about securing weapons stockpiles and
dismantling weapons as quickly as possible.
"We're in the race of our lives," said Joe Cirincione
of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
"and we're not running fast enough."
On the Net:
Ipsos-Public Affairs � http://www.ap-ipsosresults.com