The Candidate GOP Voters Trust Most With Nukes Wants To Develop Deployable Nukes

On Wednesday, Fox News released its latest poll, finding that in a head-to-head match President Obama and Mitt Romney are essentially tied (nominally, Romney bests Obama 44 to 42, but that is within the poll’s margin of error) in the general election and Romney and Newt Gingrich are essentially tied in the GOP primary (nominally, Gingrich leads by one, but that too is within the margin of error).

But many a commenter focused on a different finding from the poll. By a significant margin, Republican primary voters trust former House Speaker Newt Gingrich the most with nuclear weapons:

Jonathan Chait surmises that this means that for conservatives, “The guy you would trust most with nuclear weapons means the guy most likely to use nuclear weapons.” TPM’s David Teich writes, however, that “Gingrich has not stated an inclination to use nukes.” Teich’s not quite right though.

In a 2003 USA Today op-ed, Gingrich argued in favor of developing and potentially deploying low-yield nuclear weapons as “bunker busters.” “This would be a weapon designed to be used,” wrote Gingrich. “It would not simply be a weapon of deterrence, as current nuclear weapons are.” So there you go.

Another interesting fact from the Fox News poll: When they present the breakdown of the segment of the poll that questions only Republican primary voters, they drop the category for non-white responders, presumably because they had too few in the sample:

And yes, I recognize that my headline reads very much like something I would have written in my old ThinkProgress days.

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