The Common Good
August 2004
Seeming is believing,

Seeming is believing, according to the Program on International Policy Attitudes, which released a March 2004 survey of U.S. public perception regarding weapons of mass destruction. Americans think that the United States has 200 nuclear weapons ready to be used on short notice. The actual number is closer to 6,000 active strategic warheads, more than 2,000 of which are on high alert. The study also indicates that Americans prioritize arms control (particularly in relation to Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and Libya) over capturing Osama bin Laden.

  • 92% favor giving international inspectors the power to examine biological research laboratories in all countries, including in the United States.
  • 74% incorrectly assume that the U.S. also favors inspections.
  • 87% favor U.S. participation in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
  • 56% incorrectly assume that the United States is already a CTBT signer.
  • 91% think the United Sates should participate in a worldwide ban of all biological and chemical weapons.
  • 82% support the U.S. and other nuclear powers agreeing to reduce the number of nuclear weapons on high alert.
  • 65% said it is not necessary to develop new types of nuclear weapons.

Source: "Americans on WMD Proliferation," PIPA/Knowledge Networks Poll (April 15, 2004).

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