Survey: Likely Democratic Voters Support a Missile Defense System

January 29, 2004

Columbia, SC – A survey of 600 South Carolina registered voters and likely Democratic primary voters released today reveals overwhelming support for a missile defense system to protect the U.S. against ballistic missiles carrying weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The survey, conducted by independent polling firm Public Strategies, Inc., found that 85% of SC voters want such a missile defense system deployed, with 75% of likely Democratic primary voters supporting the current deployment scheduled for this fall.

The survey commissioned by the Washington, DC based Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance (MDAA) had a margin of error of +/- 4%. Voters in South Carolina are an important bellwether for the south and the country as a whole. The survey demonstrates that missile defense will be a factor in the upcoming SC Democratic Presidential Primary.

“Support for a missile defense system is a bipartisan issue. It is a Public Safety Issue. Missile defense provides the roof over our national home.” said Riki Ellison, founder and President of MDAA.

80 percent of likely Democratic voters think it is important for a Presidential candidate to talk about their plan for developing and deploying a missile defense system as they campaign. “With the debate tomorrow night in Greenville, the candidates will have a chance to articulate their positions on missile defense. I encourage them to do that for the people of South Carolina.” said Riki Ellison.

The poll also found that 65 percent of likely Democratic voters support deploying a basic system to protect the US from threats like North Korea. “The Democratic candidates want to have it both ways on missile defense. They say they are for testing but not deploying the current system. The voters in this state have made their voice clear on this matter, they want a system deployed,” said Riki Ellison.

Other highlights of the survey include:
* 88% of likely Democratic voters say an attack on southern cites such as Atlanta, Charlotte and Jacksonville will have a significant economic impact on the economy of South Carolina.
* 70% of Democratic voters believe the cost of a missile defense system represents money well spent.
* 78% of likely Democratic voters believe the technology exists to build a missile defense system.
* 62% of likely Democratic voters believe the US Military can successfully deploy a missile defense system
* 71% of likely Democratic voters believe countries or terrorists organizations could launch a missile against the United States.

Congress has authorized a national missile defense system. Construction of the first phase is underway. Ellison said the cost is about $10 billion per year, or less than 3 % of the U.S. defense budget. He said the system is based on technology that was successful in all nine instances of Patriot missiles being used to counter incoming missiles in the recent war against Iraq.

South Carolina, its citizens and legislators have a long history of interest in national defense issues. Last year the South Carolina General Assembly passed H. 3622 which urged Congress to build and deploy a missile defense system. Yesterday, the Assembly passed a resolution, H.4488, encouraging the U.S. Congress to act first in passing the Defense Appropriations Bill before all others.

Among the goals of MDAA are to keep the public informed on the issue, the need for accelerated system deployment, and the need for continued funding by Congress as the system is deployed.

Ellison is a former professional football player. He was a linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers, with whom he won three Super Bowls. Continuing a commitment to missile defense that began in college, he has more than 20 years experience advocating, educating and advising on the issue. He founded the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance as a non-profit organization to speak for members throughout the nation who support the deployment of a national missile defense system.

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