US Public Opinion Survey on Nuclear Energy: Women Turn Against Nukes

John Hanger

Fukushima did not cause the US public to cut and run on nuclear power, according to a poll by Gallup. US public support for nuclear power stood at 57% in 1994; 57% in 2011 before Fukushima; and is 57% in 2012. The consistency is remarkable and makes one wonder if Gallup is really doing a poll (joking of course). The overall support for nuclear power conceals a truly remarkable gender difference in opinion.

Men overwhelmingly support nuclear power 72% to 27%. Women actually oppose nuclear power, with 51% opposing and 42% supporting. Men support nuclear power by 30 points more than women do. Women oppose nuclear power by 24% points more than men do. That is one of the bigger gender differences that I have ever seen on an issue.

Other interesting facts in the Gallup poll are that the high point of support for nuclear power was 62% in 2010 and the low point was 46% in 2001. I am not sure what drove those numbers in those years. Perhaps it is nothing more than polling variability or noise. Or perhaps it has something to do with the economic times of 2001 and 2010.

Bottom line is that US support for nuclear power remains strong and steady, though the issue has one of the biggest gender differences that I have ever seen.

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