Iowa Residents Overwhelmingly Want Presidential Candidates to Share Views on Nuclear Weapons

Science Group Launches Effort to Push Candidates on Nuclear Issues

Published May 20, 2019

A recent Zogby Analytics poll found that 82 percent of Iowa residents want presidential candidates, who are already passing through the Hawkeye State, to lay out their positions on nuclear weapons. 

“Nuclear war seems like something we no longer should have to worry about,” said David Wright, a physicist and co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. “But the prospect of a nuclear war is higher now than it has been in decades.  The United States and Russia are abandoning arms control treaties and developing new nuclear weapons considered more usable in a conflict.” 

Aware of the increased risk, mayors around the country, including Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, U.S. Vice-President of Mayors for Peace, are joining forces to call on Congress and the president to take steps to reduce the risks of a nuclear exchange.  

“We’re putting future generations at risk by even considering the use of nuclear weapons,” said Mayor Cownie. “We must urge our elected officials in Washington to understand that nuclear warfare is not an option.” 

The Zogby poll shows that public attention is increasingly focused on these issues, finding: 

  • 57 percent of Iowans said the United States should not use nuclear weapons first in a conflict, a view shared by nearly half (44 percent) of self-described conservatives.  
  • 64 percent of Iowans said that the U.S. president should not have the authority to unilaterally order a nuclear strike, a right that U.S. presidents now have. 

“Because the stakes are so high, we will be birddogging the presidential candidates to ensure they let voters know where they stand on these issues,” said Wright. “Will they reenter treaties? Will they reduce weapons? And most important, will they commit to establishing a policy that ensures the United States will never use nuclear weapons first in a conflict? Establishing such a policy is one of the most significant steps the United States can take to lower the risk of nuclear war.” 

Zogby conducted the poll between March 11 and 13, interviewing 410 adults out of thousands of randomly selected phone numbers. Weighting techniques were used to best represent the demographics of the population being surveyed. The sampling margin of error is +/- 4.8 percent