Change Can’t Happen Without You

May 14, 2009

Dear Members and Friends,

This morning at the National Press Club in Washington D.C., the American Public spoke on missile defense and showed their close to unanimity support for missile defense as 9 out of 10 Americans want missile defense from all regions and across the political spectrum. It is without question a mandate, and time for “Change we Need” in President Obama’s own words. The American Public supports President Obama’s statements and position for missile defense at 84% and his public support for the European Missile Defense site in Poland and the Czech Republic at 78%. Furthermore, the majority (60%) of the American Public demands that the homeland of the United States is the first priority of missile defense funding and that protecting deployed armed forces is second at 33%. The American Public further states through a majority that they are opposed to the $1.2 billion dollar cut proposed by Secretary Gates and President Obama’s Administration. 8 out of 10 Americans think research and development of new missile defense systems is extremely important and only 15% oppose any missile defense systems located in space. The American public clearly recognizes the threat from Iran, North Korea and surprisingly Pakistan to the security of the United States.

These Public Survey results from a world renowned research firm, the Opinion Research Organization, that conducts the current CNN Polling based out of Princeton New Jersey has been polling the American Public since 1938.

The American Public has a voice on missile defense and the United States Congress who represents the American Public must take into serious consideration their voice.

As our President Barack Obama stated “It’s about Time. It’s about Change” and “Change can’t happen without you.”

The President is right, and the American Public is right.

Enclosed are the remarks made this morning at the Press Club.

I am here this morning to report on a Nationwide poll focused on public attitudes toward missile defense. The poll was conducted between May 7th and May 10th by the Princeton, New Jersey-based Opinion Research Corporation, one of the nation’s most respected polling and research firms, that has been conducting national surveys since 1938 and is CNN’s current polling partner.

A national projected telephone survey of adults, 18 years of age and older were interviewed by telephone. The poll had 1,001 respondents with 824 registered voters, 31% of which identified as being democrats, 26% republican and 38% Independents. The poll was balanced among men and women and by region. The sample error is plus or minus 3.2 percent. The Poll queried adults of all ages, registered and non registered voters, in every region in the nation.

My organization, the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance has been taking these polls since 2003.

Over the past six years, there has been consistent support for a missile defense system to protect our nation from ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction. Nonetheless, this year’s poll has taken me by surprise – because of the breadth and depth of support for missile defense in every area surveyed. First of all, 88% of the American people, nearly 9 out of ten, support the deployment of a missile defense system. By contrast, President Obama won the election with less than 53% of the vote and it’s been called a resounding victory, and a mandate for change.

I should point out that support for a missile defense system has been on a steady upswing since the first poll taken by my organization six years ago. But this year, we experienced a real leap forward in support, and I think the reason is three fold:
First the American people have become more educated and more aware of the growing threats to their security;
Second President Obama has voiced his support and that of his Administration for missile defense.
Third and perhaps most important, the case for missile defense has been made, clearly and rather dramatically by three sources: Iran, North Korea and Pakistan.
The poll revealed that 65% of the American public views Iran’s demonstrated ballistic missile capabilities as well as its bellicose threats and its drive to develop a nuclear weapon as a real threat to our security.
A similar view is held for North Korea.
Interestingly, and for the first time, Pakistan has entered into the mix. The instability of Pakistan, the growing influence of the Taliban and other radical elements in the country, the fragility of its government, and the fact that it already has nuclear weapons has become a real issue for the American people and their views on its meaning for missile defense. Fifty-seven percent of those polled views Pakistan in this regard.
There was not a single area in which the American People were complacent with respect to where are in MD and where we need to be. If there is a bottom line to all of this, it is that the American People are aware of the issues facing the nation, they are engaged, and they are watching what our nation’s leadership will do.

Despite the multi trillion dollar debt and the support for President Obama’s priorities of energy independence, education and health care reform. All of them with extraordinary budget implications none the less more than half of the American People do not want our nations missile defense budget to be reduced. To me, this maybe the most interesting result from all our poll data.

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