4/27: Nearly Six in Ten Concerned Catastrophe Could Strike in States

Japan’s nuclear crisis has raised questions about whether or not an emergency of that proportion could occur in the United States.  According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, nearly six in ten Americans — 57% — say it could happen here.  Included here are 16% who think it is very likely and 41% who say a nuclear power plant emergency is likely.  However, 31% believe it is not very likely, and 9% report it is not likely at all to happen.  Just 2%are unsure.

nuclear power


Click Here for Complete April 27, 2011 USA McClatchy-Marist Poll Release and Tables

“Americans certainly don’t rule out the possibility of a nuclear emergency here,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Although a majority think it is likely to be an accident at a power plant, a sizeable proportion is worried about a terror attack.”

If such a power plant emergency were to take place, is the U.S. government prepared to handle it?  Americans divide.  49% report the country is either very prepared or prepared to take on such a tragedy while 48% say it is not very prepared or not prepared at all to do so.  Among those who think the nation is ready to handle this type of situation are 10% who believe the government is very prepared and 39% who say it is prepared.  Looking at those who are less confident, about one-third — 33% — report America is not very prepared, and 15% believe it is not prepared at all.  Just 4% are unsure.

Table: Possibility of Nuclear Power Plant Emergency

Table: U.S. Preparedness for Nuclear Power Emergency

Accident Not an Attack, Say Residents

A majority of Americans — 56% — believe that if the United States were to face a nuclear crisis today, it would be a result of an accident at a nuclear power plant.  However, four in ten — 40% — think an act of terrorism would be behind it.  Four percent are unsure.

Table: Cause of Hypothetical U.S. Nuclear Emergency

McClatchy-Marist Poll Methodology