CNN Poll: Majority say Russia will live up to START obligations
December 21st, 2010
10:00 AM ET
12 years ago

CNN Poll: Majority say Russia will live up to START obligations

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As the Senate nears a crucial vote over a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia, according to a new national poll nearly three-quarters of all Americans say senators should approve the accord.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday also indicates that a majority says that Moscow would live up to its obligations if the START treaty is approved.

See the full results after the jump:

Full results (pdf)

Seventy-three percent of people questioned in the poll say the Senate should approve the nuclear treaty, with 24 percent saying senators should reject the accord.
The numbers are in-line with an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week.

According to the CNN survey, 86 percent of Democrats and 75 percent of independent voters say that lawmakers should approve the START treaty. Fifty percent of Republicans say the accord should be approved, with 45 percent saying senators should reject the treaty.

Senate debate on a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia intensified Monday, with Democratic supporters touting the backing of military leaders for the pact while Republican opponents used to Cold War terminology to portray it as a threat to national security.

The Senate could vote Tuesday to invoke cloture, a necessary procedural step to end debate and set up a vote, with a possible final vote on the accord Wednesday.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as New START, resumes inspections of each country's nuclear arsenals while limiting each nation to 1,550 warheads and 700 launchers.

The poll indicates that 56 percent of the public says Russia will live up to its share of the agreement, if the accord is approved, with four in ten saying Moscow will not live up to its obligations.

"That's a switch from 2002, when the Bush administration had negotiated a similar treaty," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Only 47 percent of the U.S. public believed back then that Russia would live up to its share of that agreement."

Some Senate Republicans have raised concerns about the treaty's impact on U.S. plans to develop a missile defense system, and according to the survey, missile defense is extremely popular with Republicans nationwide. But a small majority of Independents and six in ten Democrats think a missile defense system is not a good idea.

The poll indicates that the number of Americans who are worried about the possibility of a nuclear war is relatively low.

"That may remove the need for swift action on the new START treaty in the minds of many Americans," says Holland.

Thirty-six percent say they worry a lot about the possibility of a nuclear war.

"That's low by historic standards," adds Holland. "In the early 1980s six in ten said they worried a lot about nuclear war. It's also low in comparison to current concerns about economic conditions, unemployment and the deficit."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 17-19, with 1,008 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Check out CNN's new Polling Center, which provides the most comprehensive polling data covering national questions and the top 2010 election races of any news organization in the political landscape.

- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: CNN Poll Archive • Extra • Russia • START treaty
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is better to have this then allow the Russian stock piles to be unsecured and possibly fall into terrorist hands. Why should it be risked.

    December 21, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. Four and The Door

    Regardless of what pressure comes from the Administration or what people from America's past are saying, it is up to our current elected Senators to be convinced themselves that this is a good treaty to sign up for. It is their job and their responsibility to be on board with exactly what it says and does. Sure we all hope it is a good treaty but that's not my job and I'm no expert. I leave it to to the people we elected to come to their own conclusions.

    December 21, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  3. john, PA

    In what nation did you take this poll ????
    8 out of 10 where I work don't agree with Obama, don’t trust Obama, won’t support Obama, sure, you keep asking the same question to the same people. No country has ever lived up to its obligations in these treaties, what makes you think Russia will live up to its obligations when it’s a deal with the weakest president America ever had!

    December 21, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. once upon a horse

    aren't the Republicans always the ones talking about "listening to the American people"? Well it seems that they only do that when the American people tend to agree with THEM! Take in account tax breaks for the wealthy...polls showed a majority of Americans were against that but the GOP I guess knows what's best for us. Same with DADT. Now here we go again with the START treaty. Bottom line is the GOP can NOT have President Obama get too many victories before the new congress takes affect. It's all political and at this point it really doesn't matter what the American people think.

    December 21, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    McConnell, Kyl, McCain, DeMint, and Graham do not care about national security, or reading the bill over the last 8 months. We now know that 'Country First' was a lie of epic proportions. It is time for "that one' McCain to go home.

    December 21, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  6. Marty, FL

    It begs the question if Sen. Kyl and other uber partisans are even paying attention to the American people.

    A clear majority in our country support the START treaty on both sides, yet Kyl, McCain, McConnell, DeMint, and other shameless politicians would disgracefully rather play politics instead support our national security! Enough.

    Ratify START now, and at the same time, pass the 9/11 Responders Bill for the American heroes who deserve our support!

    December 21, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. NVa Native

    Repubs love to say they know what the American people want and think. But of course Repubs only care about what real Americans want and think when it is the same thing as what the Repub politicians want, or what their propoganda dogs want. The Repubs only care about what corporate America wants.

    December 21, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  8. TomInRochNY

    I'm more concerned the Russia arsenal will be sold on the black market.

    December 21, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. James, AL

    "Trust but verify". Lets get on with it; pass the treaty.

    December 21, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. Dean

    Maybe Senator McConnell will be forced to vote for this measure since he states he wants to listen and follow thhe voice of the American people. We'll see soon if he is all talk or not.

    December 21, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  11. Bill from GA

    Maybe you should poll Russians and the rest of the world if they think the USA will live up to its end of the treaties.

    December 21, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. jc

    how could anyone believe a poll conducted by Cnn would be fair and unbiased?

    December 21, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |