September 26, 1997
Poll Shows Support for Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Remains Strong
One year after President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT)
in New York, a new nationwide poll shows that 70.3 percent of Americans "think
the U.S. Senate should approve a treaty with 140 other countries that would
prohibit underground nuclear weapons explosions worldwide." Only 12.5 percent of
respondents "disapprove" of ratification, while 17.2 percent said they "don't
The results are based on the findings of an opinion survey of 800 adults
conducted by The Mellman Group for the Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers
between Sept. 11-15. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent.
The polling results show that support for the nuclear test ban treaty remains
high among all demographic and political groupings. Support remains high among
people identifying themselves as "strong republicans" (66.7 percent) and among
people with a member of the military in their household (71 percent). The poll
also shows high support for the Treaty in all regions (Northeast 75.2 percent,
Midwest 68.3 percent, South 66.2 percent, and West 75 percent).
Since President Clinton signed the Treaty on Sept. 24, 1996, 146 nations,
including the Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France, have signed the
agreement. This week, the president transmitted the treaty to the U.S. Senate
for its advice and consent to ratification. Hearings on the Treaty are
scheduled for next month and a vote is expected by early 1998. President Clinton
has said the Treaty will "help to prevent the nuclear powers from developing
more advanced weapons ... and will limit the possibilities for other states to
acquire such devices."
The results of the new survey of public attitudes on the test ban issue are
consistent with 10 other polls conducted since 1957, when President Eisenhower
first sought a test ban. While the poll questions have varied over the years,
with one exception (1958), support for the test ban ranged from 61-85 percent.