Analysis & Opinions - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Poll: What the American Public Likes and Hates about Trump's Nuclear Policies

| Apr. 27, 2020

It is difficult to overstate the importance of nuclear policy in determining a US presidential candidate's fitness to be commander-in-chief. Such priorities are evident in the Bulletin's recently published special issue dedicated to discussing nuclear weapons policy ahead of the 2020 election. Nuclear issues played a prominent role in the 2016 election, but despite some anomalies, they have hardly factored into the 2020 campaign. This is almost certain to change even as priority is given to the COVID-19 pandemic response. Nevertheless, very few recent polls (with one notable exception) have attempted to identify preferences among the US population for President Donald Trump's nuclear policies.

To fill this gap, we worked with the firm YouGov in late 2018 after the release of the Trump administration's Nuclear Posture Review to conduct a nationally representative survey of 1,000 Americans. Previous surveys have illuminated US public attitudes on nuclear energy, extending theNew START treaty, and even hypothetical nuclear retaliatory scenarios. It isn't clear, however, how Americans view the core elements of the Trump administration's nuclear policy: its Nuclear Posture Review and its overall strategies toward Iran and North Korea. We report our study results publicly for the first time here, offering insights for policymakers and presidential candidates as they weigh their positions on nuclear issues.

Nuclear Posture Review. The study highlights how the US public as a whole and various demographic groups view Trump's positions on nuclear weapons....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Baron, Jonathon and Stephen Herzog.“Poll: What the American Public Likes and Hates about Trump's Nuclear Policies.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 27, 2020.

The Authors