Rasmussen: 43% Worry Japan Radiation May Reach US

Wednesday, 16 Mar 2011 11:55 AM

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A sizable number of voters now worry that radiation released by the ongoing Japanese nuclear disaster may come to our shores, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 43 percent of Likely Voters are now at least somewhat concerned that any radiation that escapes from Japanese nuclear plants may reach the United States, including 17 percent who are Very Concerned about this possibility.

Most voters (56 percent) don’t share that concern, with 17 percent who are Not At All Concerned.

Women are more concerned than men about the possibility of radiation reaching the United States. African-Americans are more worried about this potential danger than whites are.

The survey was taken Monday and Tuesday evenings amid contradictory news reports about the ongoing and deteriorating situation at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Despite calming statements from most public health officials, there has been a run in California on potassium iodide tablets which help protect against radiation-induced thyroid cancer.

Americans are definitely monitoring events in Japan. Ninety-one percent of voters say they are following news reports about the recent earthquake in Japan that led to the nuclear catastrophe. This includes 53 percent who say they are following Very Closely.

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.

Sixty-three percent of Americans regard Japan as a U.S. ally. Seven percent think Japan is an enemy, and 22 percent put the island nation somewhere in between.

In February of last year, President Obama announced an $8.3 billion government loan guarantee to build the first new nuclear plant in this country in over a quarter of a century. At that time, 49 percent of Americans favored the building of new nuclear power plants. Twenty-seven percent were opposed to the idea, and 24 percent were not sure about it.

Rasmussen Reports will release new data tomorrow about Americans’ attitudes about nuclear power plants since the Japanese crisis began.

Most voters (58 percent) continue to believe that finding new sources of energy is more important than reducing the amount of energy Americans now consume. A plurality (43 percent) believes there is a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection. Thirty-four percent disagree, and 23 percent are not sure. These numbers, too, have changed little in recent months.

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