1 October 2004: For immediate release

Results of an official ICM opinion poll of 1008 individuals commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, unveiled today, show an overwhelming opposition to space weapons and a lack of trust in the US’s pronouncements on Star Wars.

Notable results include:

72% of respondents believe placing offensive weapons in space would make the world a more dangerous place
BUT 69% of respondents believe placing “DEFENSIVE” weapons in space would still make the world a more dangerous place.

The majority of respondents would be in favour of a Treaty banning the development or deployment of offensive space weapons (63%), weapons that are both defensive and offensive (57%) and even “defensive” space weapons (69%).

67% of respondents oppose UK involvement in the US Missile Defence system if it involves the deployment of weapons in space that have a capability of being both defensive and offensive. Since it is virtually impossible to make a space weapon that has only a defensive capability and is not able to attack offensively in some way if desired, that makes opposition to the US Star Wars system considerable if, as expected, it employs space-based weapons systems in the future.

Neil Kingsnorth, CND’s Star Wars Campaigner, said,

“The United States Administration plans to put weapons in space, dominate space and fight in and from space – they have said it themselves time and time again. What’s more they plan to use their Missile Defence system as an excuse to achieve it. These results show clearly that the British people think the idea of arming the heavens is a step too far and we expect the British government to respond by declaring its opposition to space weapons and by pushing hard to achieve a Treaty banning them for good.”

Kate Hudson, CND chair, said,

“These results show an overwhelming majority in favour of a complete ban on all possible types of space weapon. The threat of a battlefield in space is looming large, especially with the US’s destabilising Star Wars system due online soon. It is crucial that the international community, including our government, works fast to develop a framework to ban space weapons before the world is faced with a space arms race”

The results come at a crucial time. As well as coinciding with Keep Space for Peace Week, they come just weeks ahead of the expected announcement by George Bush that his Star Wars system is up and running. They also come amid news that the US was planning to deploy a test space weapon (NFIRE) within weeks, before international outrage appears to have caused a postponement of these plans. The poll was commissioned as a new phase in CND’s Star Wars campaign gathers pace and follows the release of a detailed report on space weapons over the Summer and a successful demonstration at the Fylingdales Star Wars base in Yorkshire with Thom Yorke of Radiohead last Saturday (25th Sept).

ICM Research interviewed a random selection of 1008 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 22-23 September 2004. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. The opinion poll was funded by a generous grant by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust.