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35% Say U.S. Should Phase Out Nuclear Power Over Next 50 Years

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

As the Japanese continue to struggle with the damaged Fukushima nuclear facility, support for the building of nuclear plants in the United States has fallen to a new low. One-third of voters now favor phasing out nuclear power in this country.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 38% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the building of more nuclear plants here, down two points from last week which marked the lowest level of support in nearly three years.  Forty-two percent (42%) oppose the building of new U.S. plants, up four points from the previous survey. Twenty percent (20%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

In prior surveys since June 2008, support for building more nuclear plants has ranged from a low of 47% to a high of 58%.  Opposition has run from 25% to 35%.

Thirty-five percent (35%) of voters also now think the United States should systematically phase out the use of nuclear power plants over the next 50 years, but 47% disagree. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided.

However, just 24% of voters correctly recognize that 20% of the nation’s electricity is provided by nuclear power. Twenty-eight percent (28%) think 10% or less of America’s electrical supply comes from nuclear plants. Nine percent (9%) estimate that nuclear power produces 30% of the country’s electricity, three percent (3%) say 50%, and four percent (4%) think it’s more than 50%. Nearly one-in-three voters (31%) aren’t sure.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on March 24-25, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.


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