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40% Still Support New Nuclear Plants In U.S., 38% Oppose

Voters are now evenly divided when asked if more nuclear power plants should be built in this country.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters favor the building of more nuclear plants in the United States, the lowest level of support in nearly three years of surveying. Thirty-eight percent (38%) are opposed. Twenty-three percent (23%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The survey was taken Monday and Tuesday evenings as the situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan continued to deteriorate, threatening to release dangerous levels of radiation.

Forty-nine percent (49%) favored the building of new nuclear plants in February of last year when President Obama announced an $8.3-billion government loan guarantee to build the first such plant in this country in over a quarter of a century. At that time, only 27% were opposed, with 24% undecided.

In surveys since 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%.

There was a similar drop-off in support for offshore oil drilling last year following the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, but, with gas prices soaring at the pump, support has rebounded to a new high of 67%.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls). Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook. 

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on March 14-15, 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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