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74 years later, Americans still support atomic bombing of Hiroshima

Microsoft News 8/5/2019

Seventy-four years ago today, the U.S. ushered in a new era by dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The bomb and its effects killed somewhere between 90,000 to 166,000 people in Hiroshima, and a second bomb dropped three days later on Nagasaki killed another 35,000 people.

In a Microsoft News/CivicScience poll taken last week, Americans overall supported the decision to use the bombs -- 61% believed it was the right decision, and 20% said it was the wrong decision. But a closer look at the numbers reveals some nuances behind that support.

Men and women held sharply different views. Three-quarters of men believed the decision was right, but half of women said it was wrong. On a more current question, half of women said the U.S. should promise to never be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict; 64% of men say the U.S. should not make that promise. Overall, 54% of American believed there should be no promise made on first use, and 30% said there should.

We found that when broken down by political leaning, there were even bigger differences. Among conservatives, almost 80 percent supported the use of nuclear weapons in World War II. Fifty-five percent of moderates supported use, and only 44% of liberals were in support.

The ideological divisions are also clear on questions about today's other nuclear controversies.

Overall, taking into account the statistical margin of error, there is relatively equal approval (44%) and disapproval (37%) of creating a new generation of weapons, but with stark differences between conservatives (69% in support) and liberals (21% in support). Only about a quarter of Americans believed President Trump will persuade North Korea to end its nuclear program; 44% of conservative believed he will, while a whopping 85% of liberals believed he won't. Regarding Iran, 45% believed it was right for President Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, with 81% of conservatives supporting the president and 72% of liberals in opposition.


The Microsoft News Poll uses online, opt-in surveys to produce statistically valid results. In this survey, taken from July 31 to Aug. 5, responses were collected from more than 12,500 people randomly selected across the U.S. by polling partner CivicScience, then weighted using statistically rigorous methods to represent the total population. Margin of error +- 3 percentage points. Learn more about our polls.

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