August 16, 2011
8/16: Nearly Half of Residents Near Indian Point Want to Keep Power Plant Open
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vows to shut down the Indian Point nuclear power plant. However, according to this NY1/YNN-Marist Poll, nearly half of residents who live near the plant — 49% — oppose closing it. Four in ten — 40% — favor shutting it down, and 11% are unsure.
“After all these years, this remains a highly charged issue,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Governor Cuomo still has some convincing to do.”
- Among registered voters who live near Indian Point, 48% want to keep the power plant open while 42% want it shut down. One in ten — 10% — is unsure.
- Nearly six in ten residents in communities near Indian Point who earn less than $50,000 annually — 59% — are more likely to support keeping the plant operational than those who earn more than $50,000 annually — 43%.
- There are also age differences. 55% of those younger than 45 years old in this region want to keep Indian Point open. 44% of those over 45 agree.
The use of nuclear power as an energy source is supported, overall, by a slim majority of New Yorkers. 52% of adults statewide are proponents of doing so while 36% oppose it. 11% are unsure.
- Among registered voters, 55% support nuclear power, 34% oppose it, and 11% are unsure.
- While 70% of Republican voters statewide approve of the use of nuclear power, 53% of non-enrolled voters and 47% of Democrats have this view.
- Majorities of residents who live upstate — 58% — and in the suburbs of New York City — 56% — support using nuclear power as an energy source. This compares with 46% of adults in New York City.
- Older New Yorkers are more likely to support nuclear power than younger residents. 55% of those 45 and older share have this view compared with 48% of those who are younger.
- There are gender differences on this question. More than six in ten men — 62% — think nuclear power is a good energy source. 44% of women agree.
Nuclear Concerns: Slim Majority Fear Nuclear Emergency
In March, Japan suffered a catastrophic nuclear disaster. What are the chances that such an emergency could occur in New York State? 51% of adults statewide say it’s either very likely or likely. This includes 16% who believe a nuclear emergency is very likely and 35% who think it is likely. 32% say it’s not very likely to happen in New York while 12% don’t think such a nuclear emergency will happen at all. Five percent are unsure.
- Similar proportions of registered voters share these views. Half — 50% — report a nuclear disaster is either very likely or likely to happen. 34% say it’s not very likely to occur while 12% think the possibility of a nuclear emergency in New York is not likely at all. Four percent are unsure.
- 57% of New Yorkers who are 45 or older think there is a greater likelihood of a nuclear emergency in the state compared with 44% of those who are younger than 45 years old.
- There are also gender differences. Six in ten women — 60% — think there is a greater possibility of a nuclear disaster in New York than men — 42%.
If such an incident were to occur, 51% of New York State residents believe it would be caused by an accident at a nuclear power plant. Nearly four in ten — 39% — would attribute it to a terror attack, and 11% are unsure.
- Among registered voters statewide, 52% would cite an accident as the cause of a nuclear emergency while 38% would blame a terror attack, and 10% are unsure.
- Majorities of non-enrolled voters — 56% — and Democratic voters — 54% — think an accident would be behind a nuclear emergency. Republican voters divide. 48% think it would happen due to an accident while 46% would suspect a terror attack.
- More than six in ten upstate residents — 62% — and a plurality of those who live in the suburbs of New York City — 47% — would blame an accident for a nuclear disaster. Adults in New York City divide. 43% would call such an incident an accident while 41% would say it is an act of terror.
Hydrofracking Draws Little Consensus Among New Yorkers
There is a difference of opinion among New Yorkers on the issue of hydrofracking. 37% oppose splitting underground rock to remove natural gas while 32% support it. A notable 31% are unsure.
When NY1/YNN-Marist last asked this question in May, 41% were against hydrofracking, 38% favored it, and 21% were unsure.
- 37% of registered voters in New York oppose hydrofracking, 33% support it, and three in ten — 30% — are unsure.
- Republicans — 43% — are more likely to support hydrofracking than non-enrolled voters — 37% — and Democrats — 28%.
The ban on drilling for natural gas may be lifted in New York State. While parks, wildlife preserves, and sources of drinking water would not be touched, private property would be fair game. Upstate, 54% of residents don’t want this type of drilling to take place in their town or city.
Two key arguments for hydrofracking are that it makes us independent from foreign oil and it creates jobs. But, opponents point to keeping water supplies safe and protecting the environment. Where do New Yorkers stand?
- Nearly six in ten New Yorkers — 59% — believe preserving the water supply and environment is more important than making us independent from foreign oil. About one-third — 33% — believe the opposite is true, and 7% are unsure. In May, 56%, 39%, and 5%, respectively, held these views.
o Similar proportions of registered voters believe this to be the case. 59% of voters statewide think preserving the water supply should be the priority, 35% state oil independence is more important, and 6% are unsure. In NY1/YNN-Marist Poll’s previous survey, 57%, 39%, and 5%, respectively, had these opinions.
- When weighed against job creation, 51% of adults statewide think preserving the water supply is the strongest argument while 41% believe creating jobs dominates the debate. Eight percent are unsure. These views are similar to those expressed in May. At that time, 52% cited the water supply, 41% reported job creation, and 6% were unsure.
o There has been a change among registered voters statewide. Only half — 50% — now believe the argument for protecting the environment outweighs that for job creation — 44%. 6% are unsure. This compares with 55%, 39%, and 6%, respectively, who held these views in May.
o By party, there has been a decrease in the proportions of Democrats — 51% — who think the preservation of the water supply is the most compelling argument. In May, 59% of Democrats had this opinion. Looking at Republican voters, 44% believe the environment trumps job creation. This compares with 47% who held this view in May. Among non-enrolled voters, 56% choose preserving the water supply compared with 58% a few months ago.