Friday, March 20, 2009

Nuclear Energy on the Gallup: A New Poll

gallup 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.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

"we would like to see the questions to see if they contain alarmist elements that might account for the lower numbers in general"

This works both ways of course. Some of the polls with higher numbers might phrase questions very positively, ie, "Do you support clean, emission-free nuclear power to reduce our dependence on OPEC and save us from global warming?"

And it's easy (for both sides) to play games with poll numbers. The press release on the Accenture survey released earlier this week headlined that two-thirds support nuclear power. but when you drill down, their numbers say that only about 25% support nuclear power, but another 40% *might* change their minds *if* their concerns were adequately addressed.

But Gallup doesn't have an energy agenda and the overall US numbers do appear to be trending up for nuclear, even if the % of support is in dispute.

Marcel F. Williams said...

Its actually astonishing that there is so much public support for nuclear power in the US when there's so little pro-nuclear publicity or even media attention on the nuclear power industry.

It always amazes me that the numerous energy commercials on TV can talk about oil, gas, wind, solar, 'clean coal', but never even mention the existence of nuclear power. Its almost as if the media has decided that nuclear power is no longer a viable energy source so its not even worth mentioning.

Westinghouse, Areva, GE, and Canada's AECL really need to start aggressively promoting their nuclear products on television along with the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear energy relative to other energy sources. In America, companies have almost always had to aggressively advertise and promote their products in order to be successful. Why the nuclear industry is not doing this is difficult to understand.

http://newpapyrusmagazine.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

"It always amazes me that the numerous energy commercials on TV can talk about oil, gas, wind, solar, 'clean coal', but never even mention the existence of nuclear power. Its almost as if the media has decided that nuclear power is no longer a viable energy source so its not even worth mentioning."

"The media" don't determine the subjects or content of ads. The advertisers do. If you want an ad promoting nuclear power, go ahead and buy one.

I've seen lots of NEI ads doing exactly. And FWIW, I've seen recent ads from Dominion lately that mention nuclear as one of the options they're pursuing for clean electricity.

Charles Barton said...

The gender attitude issues reflects in no small measure the differences between the ways man and women perceive risks. Men are less likely than women to perceive dirt as a risk. Hence calling nuclear power dirty is less threatening to men than to women. Men and women tend to have a somewhat different set of values that come into play when a risk is perceived.

Marcel F. Williams said...

In America, companies need to advertise their products if they want to sell more them. Its that simple.

And the nuclear industry needs to do the same. Areva has a commercial that doesn't even mention that they build nuclear reactors. I haven't seen any pro-nuclear ads from Westinghouse or GE.

And anyone can see my promotion for more nuclear power in this country by visiting my blog:-)

http://newpapyrusmagazine.blogspot.com/2008/01/nuclear-energy.html

Anonymous said...

"In America, companies need to advertise their products if they want to sell more them. Its that simple."

Nuclear plant manufacturers need to advertise their product to their customers: utilities.

Utilities need to advertise their product to their customers: electricity consumers (or maybe not if it is a local monopoly, as can be the case in the U.S.).

The Nuclear industry (e.g. NEI) must approach any advertising carefully, as it may simply bring more nuclear bashers out of the woodwork; people who don't want the decades of anti-nuclear 'education'/'progress' reversed.

A heightened 'debate' with a group of loud people who feel their gut reaction against anything radioactive above all-else (alas a 'debate' between the head and the gut), would be useless unless you can show people that this is an issue that will affect them (not some fluffy polar bear), and that it will be to their detriment, both personally and as a community, if they do not engage the issue with logic.

It's sad that more people don't feel invested in the energy issue to overcome their gut reaction and instead spend a little time and thought to form an opinion based on fact and reason. But then, I guess many people wouldn't know the difference.

~distantbody

Anonymous said...

Look, GE made reactors and turbines and generators, Westinghouse (before being dissected by CBS) did the same; CE and B&W made boilers and reactor vessels & steam generators. Their customers (the power companies) burned coal & oil and uranium. There has always been a great hesitation for the fossil divisions to paint the nuke divisions as "dirty" and vice versa. I dont see that changing anytime soon. NEI cant bash coal burning, without bashing their members.

Adam said...

There is some hesitance on the part of the vendors that supply non-nuclear equipment and services to do anything remotely like openly bashing fossil fuels. They will, on the other hand, openly describe nuclear as 'clean' or free of greenhouse gases. In short, it's OK for the nuclear divisions to sell themselves, but not to point fingers.