Climate & Energy Blog

New Poll Shows Iowans Oppose Paying for New Nuclear Reactor

Posted Apr. 25, 2011 / Posted by: Kelly Trout

Three-quarters of registered voters polled want their state legislators to vote against MidAmerican’s proposed rate hike

DES MOINES, IOWA—A new statewide poll released today shows that 75 percent of Iowans oppose pending legislation that would permit the electricity rates of MidAmerican Energy customers to be increased now to pay for future construction of a nuclear reactor.

Friends of the Earth, which commissioned the poll from SurveyUSA, called the results striking evidence that voters reject MidAmerican’s proposal. The group called on Iowa legislators to heed their constituents’ overwhelming support for investing in renewable energy sources like wind power over dangerous and dirty nuclear reactors.

“The results are clear, Iowans simply do not want their rates increased by MidAmerican to finance nuclear reactors,” said Damon Moglen, climate and energy director at Friends of the Earth. “Iowans have not been duped—they’re not going to pay for MidAmerican’s boondoggle. On top of being dangerous for the public and for the environment, nuclear reactors are just too costly and risky an investment.”

The results are based on a statewide survey of 600 Iowa registered voters conducted between April 19 and April 21 by SurveyUSA, an independent, non-partisan, opinion research firm. The results revealed that:

74 percent of Iowans polled are opposed to paying higher electricity rates to pay for the construction of a new nuclear reactor.
75 percent of Iowans want their legislators to “vote against” permitting the electricity rates of customers to be increased now to pay for future construction of a new nuclear reactor.
88 percent of Iowans think it is “unfair” that the legislation could pave the way for MidAmerican Energy to raise the public's electricity rates—and allow MidAmerican to “keep the money even if a new nuclear reactor is ultimately not built.”
70 percent of Iowans would rather invest in renewable energy sources like wind than in nuclear reactors.

“These results show a dramatic rejection of the legislation before the Iowa House and Senate,” said Moglen. “While some legislators may be willing to take MidAmerican’s campaign cash, the public is clearly unwilling to hand its money over to MidAmerican for new nuclear reactors.”

SurveyUSA’s complete poll results are available at: http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=5c522d85-fd2e-47da-8719-fdac0b296cb6

Click here to download a PDF of the poll results.

SurveyUSA Statement of Methodology: About the Poll: This poll was conducted by telephone in the voice of a professional announcer. Respondent households were selected at random, using Random Digit Dialed (RDD) sample provided by Survey Sampling, of Fairfield CT. All respondents heard the questions asked identically. The pollster's report includes the geography that was surveyed; the date(s) interviews were conducted, the number of respondents who answered each question and the theoretical margin of sampling error for each question. Where necessary, respondents were weighted using the most recent US Census estimates for age, gender, ethnic origin and region, to align the sample to the population. In theory, one can say with 95% certainty that the results would not vary by more than the stated margin of sampling error, in one direction or the other, had the entire universe of respondents with home telephones been interviewed with complete accuracy. There are other possible sources of error in all surveys that may be more serious than sampling error. These include: the difficulty of interviewing respondents who do not have a home telephone; the refusal by some with home telephones to be interviewed; the order in which questions are asked; the wording of questions; the way and extent to which data are weighted; and the manner in which specialized populations, such as likely voters, are determined. It is difficult to quantify the errors that may result from these and other factors. Research methodology, questionnaire design and fieldwork for this survey were completed by SurveyUSA of Clifton, NJ. This statement conforms to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

Contact:
Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722, ktrout@foe.org
Lisa Matthes, 202-222-0730, lmatthes@foe.org

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Friends of the Earth is fighting to defend the environment and create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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