New polls show substantial support for nuclear energy

July 7, 2020, 7:19AMUpdated July 30, 2021, 3:07PMNuclear News

Sixty percent of respondents in a recent national survey favored the use of nuclear energy, with only 25 percent opposing its use. While the latest Bisconti Research poll focuses on nuclear power and electricity generation, its findings on public interest in climate change and using a spectrum of sources to meet energy needs are consistent with a recent Pew Research Center poll on a broad set of energy policy and climate change topics. The approaches the two online surveys took to measuring public opinion on nuclear energy yielded different numbers but found some common ground.

Favorability of nuclear power results from the June 2020 Bisconti Research Poll. Graph: Bisconti Research Inc.

Even though nuclear power should be an integral part in the fight against climate change, a narrow majority of Americans—according to Pew—do not favor the expansion of nuclear power. While the Pew poll found that the majority of Americans across the political divide “favor a range of initiatives to reduce the impacts of climate change,” of the nearly 11,000 adults surveyed this spring, just 43 percent favored the expansion of nuclear power in the United States, with 55 percent opposed.

Trends over time: Significantly, the poll conducted by Bisconti Research has tracked public perception of nuclear power using a consistent set of questions since 1983 and has seen the favorability of nuclear grow since the mid-1990s. When asked what should be the primary focus for the United States in meeting the nation’s electricity needs, 75 percent chose an energy mix that included nuclear energy, while only25 percent said “use only renewable sources like solar and wind.” The Bisconti Research survey was conducted with Quest Global Research and completed by over 1,000 U.S. adults in the period of June 12–16.

Favorability of nuclear power in the United States since 1983. Graph: Bisconti Research, Inc.

She said it: Ann Bisconti, president of Bisconti Research, said that her research has found that nuclear energy fares well and is encouraged that “broadly favorable attitudes toward nuclear energy extend across demographic groups, including both Biden and Trump likely voters.” Bisconti also noted in her research that communication is essential, because many participants are “fence-sitters, whose attitudes are highly changeable.” She also found that “feeling informed is strongly correlated with favorability to nuclear energy.”

Bisconti reported on the 2019 results in the July 2019 issue of Nuclear News—the original story is now available on Newswire.

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