A global survey conducted by WIN-Gallup International in 47 countries across the globe shows that several hundred million supporters of nuclear energy have switched sides to become its opponents as a result of Japan earthquake and fears of nuclear leakage at its nuclear power plants in Fukushima. Among a sample of more 34,000 thousand men and women world-wide, 8% of former supporters said they have switched to the opposite side. Another 3% said they were unsure but are now opposed to the use of nuclear technology as a source of energy or electricity.
The survey shows that supporters of nuclear energy who are 49% of the polled world still outnumber its opponents, who constitute 43%. But the gap between the two positions was much larger prior to Japan earthquake: Supporters were 57% while 32% opposed. In a nutshell, the gap between supporters and opponents suddenly fell from 25% to a mere 6%.
According to an expert at WIN-Gallup International, the worlds largest and the oldest network of opinion pollsters, operating since 1947, the new balance of opinions is likely to generate active lobbying on both sides. They point out that as the proponents and opponents of nuclear energy stand neck and neck at 49%:43%, the debate is likely to be fuelled by strong competitors on both sides.
The findings of this global survey titled Snap Poll by its organizers to highlight its release within 5 weeks from the earthquake show that nuclear energy has lost supporters both among countries which possess power plants and those which do not. In fact the fall in support among nuclear states is sharper at 9% compared to the non nuclear states of the sample where it is 5%. Among the countries polled in this survey 19 are nuclear states using this technology to produce electricity, while the remaining are non-nuclear states.
Further analysis of the survey shows that the sharpest fall in support for nuclear energy comes from Japan itself where Net Favor fell by 41%: from 34% prior to the Earthquake to minus 7% in the aftermath of the earthquake and Tsunami which damaged Japanese nuclear power plants at Fukushima.
Global Views About the Resilience of Japan:
As Japan struggles with massive relief efforts to cope with one of the worst natural disasters in its history, that killed nearly thirty thousand of its citizens and displaced ten times as many more, the world asks the question: How will this disaster affect the Japanese? Will it succeed or fail in rebouncing to pre Earthquake levels soon. Expert opinions apart, the global popular opinion is on the whole optimistic of Japan’s resilience to face this crisis. As many as 48% of those polled globally expect Japan to restore to pre-earthquake levels (30%) or even higher (18%). In comparison, 38% are pessimistic and say Japan might find it hard to regain its former economic conditions. Notably the conservative or pessimistic view on resilience of the economy comes from within Japan itself where 55% are somewhat skeptical and its close neighbors, South Korea, where 47% hold this view and China where 67% are pessimistic. These views may reflect a modesty in the Japanese and East Asian cultures about what they can achieve.
Optimism about the Resilience of Japan’s economy is higher in Pakistan than the global average. Thus optimists are 60% who say Japan will either restore to pre-earthquake level (50%) or become even stronger (10%). As opposed to this the pessimists who think Japan may not be able to restore to pre-earthquake level are 23%. The remaining 17% are unable to give a view.