With Nielsen via Fairfax releasing a new poll today estimating the level of public support for nuclear power, it might be time to update our chart that follows this issue. Nielsen asked:
The introduction of nuclear power has been suggested as one means to address climate change. Do you support or oppose the Federal Government considering the introduction of nuclear power in Australia? Is that support or strongly support / oppose or strongly oppose…?
The results, as well as those from all pollsters going back to 2006, comes in like this:
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Now we have the full results, we can also measure how the strength of opinion has changed on the issue over the last 3 years. If we break down the Support level into its “strongly support/general support” components – and do the same with the Opposition to nuclear power, we get:
The key trends here are firstly, the growth in total support for nuclear power is coming from a general support increase rather than an increasing trend in strong support – and that trend is pretty clear.
Secondly, the reduction in the level of total opposition to nuclear power is coming from the sizable trend reduction in those that”strongly oppose”, while there has been a smaller increase in general opposition. That suggests that over the last three years people’s views against nuclear power are tempering – where strong opposition is slowly changing to general opposition, and where general opposition is slowly changing into general support.
If you’re after a textbook case of the process a population goes through when changing their opinion on a key policy area – this probably isn’t a bad example so far.