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  Library Opinion Polls Test Ban Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Support Remains High

Public Support for a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Remains High
July 20, 1999

OVER TWENTY-ONE MONTHS after President Clinton transmitted the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) to the United States Senate for approval, nationwide polls show that 82% of Americans still "think the United States Senate should approve...of this treaty," according to the latest survey (The Mellman Group/Withlin Worldwide, June 1999). The latest poll is consistent with test ban survey results over the past four decades.

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The graph above shows the level of public approval for a nuclear test ban over a four decade-long period. Polling data collected by the Roper Center for Opinion Research and other sources show strong public support for a ban on nuclear weapons testing by the United States and other countries has remained consistently high. While the specific questions (see below) have varied with historical changes, public sentiment has consistently and strongly supported an end to nuclear weapons testing. The polls indicate that a limit or ban on nuclear weapons tests has been supported by a range of 61%-85% of the population.

Questions

  • 1957 If all other nations, including Russia, agree to stop making any more tests with nuclear weapons and H-bombs, should the US agree to stop or not? (Gallup Organization, April)

Should agree to stop ... 64%
Should not ... 28%
No opinion ... 8%

  • 1963 Do you think the Senate should vote approval of this ban (agreement with Russia to have a partial ban on the testing of nuclear weapons) or not? (Gallup Organization, August)

Yes, should ... 61%
No, should not ... 18%
No opinion ... 21%

  • 1966 Do you think it was a good idea or a bad idea that the United States signed the nuclear test ban treaty with Russia against testing atomic bombs in the atmosphere? (Louis Harris and Associates, October)

Good idea ... 75%
Bad idea ... 8%
Not sure ... 17%

  • 1977 Would you favor or oppose the US and Russia agreeing to end all nuclear weapons testing? (Louis Harris and Associates, March)

Favor ... 75%
Oppose ... 12%
Not sure ... 13%

  • 1978 Would you favor or oppose the US and Russia agreeing to end all nuclear weapons testing? (Louis Harris and Associates, April-May)

Favor ... 74%
Oppose ... 17%
Not sure ... 9%

  • 1984 Would you favor or oppose an agreement between the US and the Soviet Union to ban all underground testing of nuclear weapons. (Louis Harris and Associates, November)

Favor ... 69%
Oppose ... 28%
No opinion ... 3%

  • 1987 A total US-Soviet ban on any nuclear testing would help to ease the arms race. (Gallup Organization, September-October)

Agree ... 71%
Disagree ... 21%
Don't know ... 8%

  • 1988 Negotiate with the Soviets for both countries to stop testing nuclear weapons. (The Daniel Yankelovich Group, Inc., November)

Approve ... 85%
Disapprove ... 12%
Not sure ... 3%

  • 1994 Do you think that the President should push to get a nuclear test ban approved by 1995 or not? (ICR Survey Research Group, January)

Yes ... 80%
No ... 16%
Don't know ... 3%

  • 1997 Do you think the U.S. Senate should approve or disapprove a treaty with 140 other countries that would prohibit underground nuclear weapons explosions worldwide or don't you have an opinion on this? (The Mellman Group, September)

Approve . . . 70%
Disapprove . . . 13%
Don't know . . . 17%

  • 1998 Do you think the U.S. Senate should approve or disapprove a treaty with 140 other countries that would prohibit underground nuclear weapons explosions worldwide or don't you have an opinion on this? (The Mellman Group, May)

Approve . . . 73%
Disapprove . . . 16%
Don't know . . . 11%

  • 1999 The United States and 151 other countries have signed a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which would prohibit nuclear weapons test explosions worldwide. Do you think the United States Senate should approve or disapprove of this treaty? (The Mellman Group/Wirthlin Worldwide, June)

Approve . . . 82%
Disapprove . . . 14%
Don't know . . . 4%