Despite concerns about a possible nuclear disaster in the U.S., 58% of Americans think nuclear power plants in the U.S. are safe, while 36% say they are not. Americans are divided on the issue of increasing the number of nuclear power plants in this country, but these attitudes have not changed from 10 years ago.A little more, on the question of building more nuclear energy plants in this country:
Despite all that has changed over the last 10 years, responses to this question did not change materially between its prior asking in May 2001 and the current poll, though it may be possible that attitudes changed between these intervals in unknown ways. Still, this finding suggests there has been no substantial diminution in support for nuclear power plant construction over this past decade -- despite the current, and highly visible, nuclear plant problems in Japan.The numbers on this questions are 46-48.
I wonder if the premise I've proposed about Pew and Harris - that support for nuclear energy would rise again after the events in Japan are resolved - will hold true here. I hope Gallup tries this poll again in a few months to find out.
Gallup's conclusion, provisional of course:
It may be months or years before the final impact of the Japanese disaster on American attitudes toward nuclear power can be assessed. In the short term, Americans are concerned about the dangers of a nuclear crisis in this country. But Gallup's most recent survey suggests that support for nuclear power may be more stable than some might think. A majority of Americans believe nuclear power plants in the U.S. are safe, and attitudes toward increasing their numbers do not appear to have changed in comparison with a previous measure 10 years ago.