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Support for Phasing Out U.S. Nuclear Plants Down to 29%

Monday, May 23, 2011

Japan continues to deal with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March that caused an historic-level nuclear disaster. With problems continuing at the Fukushima nuclear plant, Americans remain concerned about nuclear power plant safety at home but aren’t quite ready to phase out those plants just yet.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Voters shows that only 29% believe the United States should systematically phase out the use of nuclear power plants over the next 50 years. Forty-seven percent (47%) do not agree, while another 24% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Support for phasing out nuclear power plants is down from 35% in late March, two weeks after the earthquake hit Japan.

However, voters are more narrowly divided over whether there should be more U.S. nuclear plants. While 38% believe more plants should be built, 40% disagree. Twenty-two percent (22%) more are undecided. Support for the building of more nuclear plants is down from 42% in mid-April and ties the lowest level of support in nearly three years of Rasmussen Reports surveying. 

Just days after the March 11 earthquake that triggered the nuclear plant crisis in Japan, support for building new plants in the United States fell to 40%. In previous surveys since June 2008, support for building more nuclear plants had ranged from a low of 47% to a high of 58%.  Opposition had run from 25% to 35%. 

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on May 19-20, 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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