Here’s the headline for Gallup’s new poll on nuclear energy.
Support for Nuclear Energy Inches Up to New High
Though Gallup polls nuclear energy lower than Accenture or Bisconti (jump down a few posts for more on Accenture), the numbers suggest the same movement in its favor:
A majority of Americans have been supportive of the use of nuclear energy in the United States in recent years, but this year's Gallup Environment Poll finds new high levels of support, with 59% favoring its use, including 27% who strongly favor it.
Interestingly, these numbers are dragged down by women:
Gallup has always found consistent and large gender differences in Americans' views of nuclear power, and the same applies this year -- 71% of men favor the use of nuclear energy, compared with only 47% of women. Both groups show their highest level of support for nuclear power to date.
Other polls show a gender difference, too, though not this stark. Gallup doesn’t offer a suggestion why this might be so – maybe they’ll do a follow-up to find out – but these numbers do seem more reflective of a government approach that would use blue ribbon commissions to kick the can down the road. If nothing else, they help skittish politicians to triangulate a policy approach that will not set off alarms. While using such commissions might seem overcautious, Gallup is probably the most trusted name in opinion polling, so its poll results gain a prominence that affects policy making.
None-the-less, the results are good and show the needle moving up.
The poll finds that a majority of Americans, 56%, believe nuclear power plants are safe, but a substantial minority of 42% disagree.
Once again, the gender split is significant, with men in the low 70s and women in the low 40s.
A lot to chew over here – we would like to see the questions to see if they contain alarmist elements that might account for the lower numbers in general – but overall, hard to complain.