Seventy-six percent (76 percent) of Americans say it is at least somewhat likely that a terrorist group will detonate a nuclear weapon in the next 25 years, and that includes 45 percent who say it is Very Likely.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 17 percent think terrorists are unlikely to detonate a nuclear weapon in that time frame, with just two percent (2 percent) who say it’s Not At All Likely.
Most Adults (58 percent) also believe it is at least somewhat likely that there will be a major war involving nuclear weapons over the course of the next century, including 26 percent who say it is Very Likely. Thirty-two percent (32 percent) regard a war with nuclear weapons as unlikely, but only five percent (5 percent) say it’s Not At All Likely to happen.
But most Americans think a nuclear weapon arsenal is critical to the country's safety, and they oppose reducing the number of weapons in that arsenal.
In early May, 85 percent said a terrorist attack on the United States is likely within the next year.
The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on August 8-9, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
Only 39 percent of voters believe the United States and its allies are winning the War on Terror. Forty-one percent (41 percent) believe the United States is safer today than before the 9/11 2001 terrorist attacks, but 37 percent say that’s not the case.
Fifty-four percent (54 percent) of Republicans think it is Very Likely that a terrorist group will detonate a nuclear weapon in the next 25 years, a view shared by the plurality (49 percent) of adults not affiliated with either party but just 33 percent of Democrats.
Republicans are also more likely than Democrats and unaffiliateds to think that a major world war with nuclear weapons is possible over the next century.
Married adults and those with children in the home believe more strongly than unmarrieds and those without children that both scenarios are likely.
Forty-nine percent (49 percent) of Americans think most of their fellow countrymen have already forgotten the impact of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in which 3,000 died.
Only 31 percent expect Russia to honor its agreement with the United States to reduce its nuclear weapons stockpile.
Fifty-five percent (55 percent) of voters oppose prohibiting the use of nuclear weapons in response to attacks by non-nuclear countries on the United States.
Despite criticism and demands that the United States apologize to the Japanese for dropping atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II, 59 percent of Americans believe the decision to use nuclear weapons on the two cities was a good one.
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