SACRAMENTO — Voter support for the building of more nuclear power plants in California is dwindling, but a majority believes the state’s existing plants are safe, according to a Field Poll released Wednesday.
Only 38 percent of registered voters agreed that more nuclear plants should be built in the state, while 58 percent disagreed, the survey found. The numbers represent a significant decline in support for more nuclear power plants from last year, when 48 percent supported building more such plants and 44 percent were opposed.
The shift in support comes in the wake of the meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in March and is similar to a drop in support following the Three Mile Island nuclear power accident in 1979 in Pennsylvania, the survey said.
However, 56 percent of Californians said they believe that the state’s existing power plants are safe, compared with 32 percent who do not. When asked whether existing nuclear plants in the state should be phased out over a 10-year period, 46 percent were opposed, while 39 percent were in favor.
The poll also found that 53 percent of registered voters said they oppose allowing oil companies to drill more oil and gas wells in state tidelands along the California coast, while 43 percent believed they should be allowed to drill.
Voters were split on the question of whether current oil and gas drilling operations along the coast are safe. Forty-eight
percent said they are safe, while 46 percent believed they are not.
The survey showed sharp partisan differences on the question of safety in oil drilling. By a 2-to-1 margin, 62 percent to 31 percent, Democrats said the drilling is not safe, while 75 percent of Republicans said they believed that offshore drilling operations are safe.
The telephone survey of 472 registered voters was conducted June 3 through June 13 and has a margin of sampling error of 4.6 percentage points.