Controlling Nuclear Weapons: Democracy versus Guardianship

By Robert Dahl | Go to book overview

Appendixes

APPENDIX 1 PUBLIC OPINION AND NUCLEAR WEAPONS

During most of the period since 1945 few systematic surveys were made of public opinion about issues of nuclear weapons strategy and control. Although this can hardly be taken as conclusive evidence that little public opinion on these issues existed, it does strongly suggest that possibility, since Gallup and other survey organizations are attentive to issues of salience in American politics.In response to a standard Gallup question - What do you think is the most important problem facing the nation?— from 1973 to 1981 respondents showed no sign of concern about nuclear weapons or war.1 In March 1982, 5 percent gave answers that could be classifed as "fear of war." This figure increased through 1983 and peaked in November 1983 — shortly following "The Day After," which was viewed by roughly half of all U.S. adults — at 26 percent, second only to unemployment (31 percent).2 In the Gallup Feburary 10-13, 1984 poll the fear of war was down to 11 percent.3

Surveys of opinions about the Salt II agreement during 1979 produced substantial differences in support, depending on the wording of the question ( Public Opinion, March/May 1979, p. 27). Variations of this kind usually signify that attitudes are labile and weakly structured, often a function of low information and understanding of the issues.The low level of information and understanding of nuclear policy questions is also indicated by the small proportion of the public who correctly identified the U.S. and USSR as parties to Salt II. The proportion rose in November 1979 to only 38 percent, up from 23 percent in January 1977. By com

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Controlling Nuclear Weapons: Democracy versus Guardianship
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Frank W. Abrams Lectures *
  • Controlling Nuclear Weapons - Democracy Versus Guardianship *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • I Obstacles to Democratic Control 5
  • 2 the Case for Guardianship 19
  • 3 a Critique of Guardianship 33
  • 4 is Political Equality Justified? 53
  • 5 Vision of a Possible Future 69
  • Appendixes 91
  • Notes 95
  • Bibliography 105
  • Index 109
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