Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Americans and Nuclear Power: Did the Dems Blow It?

Reading the Waxman-Markey draft, and noting the exclusion of nuclear power from the clean energy title, I questioned why there was such an omission.

According to Gallup, support for nuclear power among Americans is growing. 

(click for big; the blog layout precludes fully embedding the image in the context of my relative technical incompetence)

 It would be useful to look at more polls, and as the debate gains importance in the news headlines, my hope is that someone like Nate Silver will pull out some useful analysis about where the debate is headed (Silver's ability to interpret statistics - including uncertainty! - in an accessible way is absolutely incredible, and I hope his career didn't end with the election.  It's a rare talent that he has, and moreover, he has a relatively large audience, albeit some of which is academics, that are willing to listen and learn about statistics and uncertainty)

I'm no Silver, but it is interesting to note that Republicans favor nuclear power to much higher degree than Democrats: 71% support in the GOP versus 52% among Dems.  To the extent that Waxman and Markey's new bill will require bipartisan support to pass, it is possible that they have rather dropped the ball on a great opportunity to rally support for policy that will lead to climate change mitigation - and indeed energy security.

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