The simple fact is that events in Japan have ushered in a new “nuclear era” in America. The Japanese situation matters in America and people care about today’s oversight of nuclear energy plants. Accountability and transparency are as important as the public’s right to know about safety. America needs AMERICAN energy and they need to know that it is safe energy.
Recent Polling Notes
Luntz Global surveyed the general public and opinion leaders nationwide on April 4 on their attitudes related to several issues in the aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini plant events.
Additionally, a full 50% of respondents put affordability of electricity at the top of priorities for electricity production, and “cost to you, the consumer” on the list of current energy concerns, far ahead of all other factors.
1. Public perception research was conducted by the Washington Post April 14-17 in a telephone poll among a random national sample of 1,001 adults interviewed on conventional or cellular telephones. The margin of sampling error for the full poll is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
More Americans—just over half at 53 percent—say the nuclear crisis in Japan has not led to a fundamental loss of confidence in U.S. plants and see nuclear power as a safe source of energy. But there is less support than there was three years ago for building new plants here.
There continues to be a bright dividing line on nuclear power issues between men and women. By a 20-point margin, more women than men oppose building nuclear plants. By 14 points, more women than men say plants are unsafe, and, by 18 points, more women than men say they are less confident in nuclear power because of the incident in Japan.
2. Recent Crisis in Japan Has Had Little Impact on Americans’ Views on Nuclear Power: Harris Poll
Three weeks after a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled four nuclear reactors in Japan, Americans are displaying only a slight shift in their opinions on nuclear power, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll shows. Many acknowledge health concerns, but also believe nuclear power plants can be made safer.
The U.S. public is almost equally divided on whether or not more nuclear power plants should be built on American soil, with 41 percent supporting the idea and 39 percent opposed. This represents only a slight change from three years ago, when 49 percent supported nuclear plants and 32 percent opposed them, according to a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll released March 31, 2011.
More important poll results:
- More than half (55 percent) of Americans agreed that there is need to build nuclear power plants because they do not produce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming and climate change, unlike those that use oil, gas or coal.
- Almost a third of all adults (29 percent) still consider nuclear power plants “very safe,” with another 34 percent saying they are “somewhat safe.” In 2008, those numbers were very similar, at 34 percent and 33 percent, respectively. 46 percent of U.S. adults agreed that, “The risk of accidents and radiation exposure from nuclear power plants is too high to be acceptable.”
- 73 percent of respondents believed that nuclear waste disposal remains a “major problem.”
- Additionally, 59 percent of those surveyed agree to this statement, “It is OK to build nuclear power plants if we build them far enough away from earthquake fault lines and areas with large populations.”
The poll included 2,090 adults over age 18 who were surveyed online between March 23-25, 2011, by Harris Interactive, one of the world’s leading custom market research firms, and HealthDay, a leading producer and syndicator of health news.
The complete findings of the newest joint Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll are available here. HealthDay’s news report is available here. Full data on the poll and its methodology are available at Harris Interactive.