U.S. Support for Nuclear Power Climbs to New High of 62%

by Jeffrey M. Jones

Twenty-eight percent strongly favor its use

PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans' support for the use of nuclear power has inched up to 62%, establishing a new high.

1994-2010 Trend: Overall, Do You Strongly Favor, Somewhat Favor, Somewhat Oppose, or Strongly Oppose the Use of Nuclear Energy as One of the Ways to Provide Electricity for the U.S.?

A majority of Americans have typically favored using nuclear power to provide electricity for the United States since Gallup began asking about this topic in 1994. Support has edged up in the last two years, eclipsing 60% this year for the first time. In addition, 28% of Americans now say they "strongly favor" nuclear power, also the highest Gallup has measured since the question was first asked in 1994.

This year's results, from a March 4-7 Gallup poll, came after President Obama announced federal government loan guarantees to build the first nuclear power plants in the United States in three decades.

Obama's support for nuclear power apparently hasn't done much to change how Democrats view the issue, as a slim majority of 51% favor it, virtually unchanged from last year. Most of the increased support for nuclear energy over the past three years has come among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, who have consistently been more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to favor the use of nuclear energy.

2001-2010 Trend: Favor Use of Nuclear Energy, by Political Party Affiliation

Bottom Line

Last year, Gallup documented a significant increase in support for nuclear power, and that upward trend has continued this year. Although President Obama has announced his support for increased use of nuclear power, Republicans remain significantly more supportive than Democrats.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with a random sample of 1,014 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted March 4-7, 2010. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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