Zogby Poll: By 3 to 1 Margin, Americans Support Nuclear Power

Published September 1, 2008

Americans support the construction of new nuclear power plants by a 3 to 1 margin, reports a new Zogby poll.

According to Zogby, 67 percent of Americans support new nuclear power plant construction, and just 23 percent oppose it. Ten percent of respondents were unsure.

Construction of new nuclear power plants received strong support from both major political parties. Among Republicans, 85 percent support new nuclear power plants, with 9 percent opposed. Among Democrats, 49 percent said they support building new plants, with 37 percent opposed. Among Independents, 70 percent expressed support, with 22 percent opposed.

The poll also showed the public has a strong desire to let different forms of power generation stand or fall on their own economic merits. The poll showed far fewer than half of Americans–28 percent–favor government financial assistance for nuclear power. However, more Americans support subsidies for nuclear power than for solar (18 percent) or wind power (12 percent).

The extremely low support for the latter two forms of energy production is particularly relevant in light of generous current government subsidies for solar and wind power.

The poll also found most Americans continue to support the construction of coal-fired power plants, despite activist group opposition to that form of energy production.

Safe, Clean, Increasingly Popular

In a June 11 interview on MSNBC, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) explained her support, and the general public’s growing support, for nuclear power.

“There’s no question that nuclear is going to be part of the solution” in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, said Boxer.

With nuclear power becoming more cost-effective over time, and likely to become still more financially attractive under potential greenhouse gas reduction plans, “under any scenario we are going to see more nuclear power,” Boxer explained.

“Those opposing nuclear power never had any real data to support their position. The former opposition was caused by fear mongers, but they have never had anything to back up their claims,” said Jay Lehr, Ph.D., science director for The Heartland Institute.

“Not a single life has been lost at any of the 444 nuclear plants operating around the world for the past 50 years, and not one life has been lost on any of the United States’ 200 nuclear vessels that have plied the seas for this same half-century. Nuclear power can and likely will power the world for thousands of years to come,” Lehr continued.

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

For more information …

The Zogby poll can be found at http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1515.