Independent – 12 April 1988
Your comprehensive coverage (5 April) of the CND Aldermaston march is marred only by some arithmetical dyslexia in dealing with the results of our Gallup poll on nuclear weapons. May I disentangle the results for the record?
On Trident, the question "Do you think that Britain should or should not complete its current programme of building four Trident missile submarines to replace the Polaris submarines when they become obsolete in the 1990s?" produced the following response: Should – 46 percent; Should not – 37 percent. This compared with Gallup's April 1987 response to the same question, when 43 per cent. favoured completion and 37 percent opposed it.
On unilateralism, the question "Do you think Britain should or should not continue to possess nuclear weapons as long as the Soviet Union has them?" produced the following response: Yes – 69 percent; No – 24 percent. This compared with the results of four previous Gallup polls asking the same question: November 1987 (68 percent v. 26 percent); April 1987 (67 percent v. 25 percent); November 1986 (66 percent v. 27 percent); and October 1985 (68 percent v. 26 percent).
None of these figures is surprising – these days, it is more a matter of wonder that CND's unilateralist policies were ever feared as an electoral threat by some Conservatives between 1980 and 1982.
Dr JULIAN LEWIS
Policy Research Associates