American and Russian Publics Strongly Support Steps to Reduce and Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new poll, conducted in the United States and Russia , finds robust support for a series of cooperative steps to reduce nuclear dangers and move toward the global elimination of nuclear weapons.

Large majorities of Americans and Russians favor taking nuclear weapons off high alert, sharply cutting the numbers of nuclear weapons, banning the production of weapons-grade nuclear material, and -- once advanced methods of international verification are established -- undertaking the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

These steps correspond to key elements of a plan for "A World Free of Nuclear Weapons," developed by a bipartisan group that includes two former secretaries of state ( George Schultz and Henry Kissinger ), a former defense secretary ( William Perry ) and the former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee ( Sam Nunn ) -- sometimes called the "Reykjavik Revisited" plan. Some have been included in recent legislation, such as a bill introduced by Senators Chuck Hagel and Barack Obama (S.1977).

The poll was developed in conjunction with the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland (CISSM) and fielded by Knowledge Networks in the United States and the Levada Center in Russia .

The goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons, established in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is endorsed by 73 percent of Americans and 63 percent of Russians. Seventy-nine percent of Americans and 66 percent of Russians want their governments to do more to pursue this objective.

Steven Kull , director of, comments, "In contrast to the growing tension between their governments, publics in the US and Russia show enthusiasm for dramatic cooperative steps to reduce the nuclear threat."

John Steinbruner, director of CISSM notes, "Current US security policies do not reflect underlying public opinion."

Deep cuts in nuclear arsenals also receive robust support. Eighty-eight percent of Americans and 65 percent of Russians endorse the US-Russian Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) to reduce the number of active nuclear weapons in each arsenal to about 2,000 weapons by the end of 2012. In fact, most Americans (71%) and Russians (55%) favor reaching this level even sooner.

A majority of Republicans and Democrats concurred in their support for the proposals, though in most cases the Democratic majority was larger.

The full report, questionnaire, and methods are at