Poll finds strong support for renewables barring large costs; split opinion on nuclear

Source: Harris Interactive

A new Financial Times/Harris poll in the U.S. and the five largest European countries finds strong public support for increasing some renewable energy sources, particularly wind farms, provided that they are not asked to pay much more for it. However there is strong resistance to using more renewable energy if it leads to a substantial increase in costs. The public is much more evenly split on whether to build more nuclear power plants, except in Germany and Spain where substantial majorities oppose any expansion of nuclear power.

These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive® among 6,255 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,102), Germany (1,029), Great Britain (1,056), Spain (1,006), U.S. (1,002) and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,060) between September 15 and 21, 2010. 

The main findings of this new poll include: 

• Big majorities of the public in all six countries favor the building of more wind farms in their countries, varying from 90% in Spain and 87% in the U.S. to 77% in France. And large numbers of them favor it "strongly";

• Majorities in all six countries, from 77% in Italy and 76% in Spain to 60% in the U.S. favor governments giving financial subsidies for the use of bio-fuels. However, only between 13% in Britain and 34% in Spain favor this "strongly";

• Opinions on building more nuclear power plants are more mixed and vary by country. The public is more or less equally divided in the U.S., Britain and France but clear majorities are opposed in Italy (60%), Spain (63%) and even more strongly in Germany (77%); 

• When those who pay energy bills were asked how much more they would be willing to pay for renewable energy, most people in all countries said either no more or only 5% more. Those willing to pay more than 5% varied from 32% in the U.S. and 31% in Italy to only 17% in Spain and 20% in France; 

• When asked if they would be willing to pay $220 more each month -- the amount estimated by the European Union as needed to cut greenhouse emissions and use more renewable energy -- large majorities in all the countries except Italy said they would not pay -- from 77% in France and 76% in Britain to 65% in Germany who said so.

These answers are broadly similar to the results of an earlier FT/Harris poll conducted in 2008 using the same questions. However support for nuclear power plants has decreased somewhat in both Italy and Germany, over the last 2 years. 

So What? 

This new poll confirms the conclusions from other Harris surveys: there is strong support for using more "clean" sources of renewable energy, such as wind farms, but little appetite for paying significantly more for it, and that the public is still very divided in most of these countries on whether or not to rely more on nuclear power. 


Poll Tables:

TABLE 1

Household energy bills

"Who in your household is responsible for paying your household energy bills?"

 

Base: All EU and U.S. adults

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

I have complete responsibility

44

50

49

42

37

51

 

Another member of my household and I share responsibility

26

36

33

34

39

37

 

Another member of my household has complete responsibility

31

14

18

24

24

12

 

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 
             

TABLE 2

Willingness to pay extra for energy from renewable resources

"How much of an increase would you be willing to pay at the most, for energy if it were from renewable resources?"

 

Base: All EU and U.S. adults who are responsible or jointly responsible for paying household energy bills (2010)

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Nothing more

34

44

52

36

43

43

 

5% more

17

23

17

23

20

20

 

10% more

13

13

14

20

11

18

 

15% more

8

5

3

5

2

4

 

20% more

5

3

2

4

2

3

 

30% more

3

*

*

1

1

1

 

40% more

3

1

1

1

1

1

 

Not sure

17

12

11

11

21

10

 
   
             

 This question was also polled between January 30th and February 8th 2008 by Harris Interactive:

   

Base: All EU and U.S. adults who are responsible or jointly responsible for paying household energy bills. (2008)

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Nothing more

40

54

42

44

35

50

 

5% more

17

18

25

25

25

22

 

10% more

17

12

16

15

14

14

 

15% more

7

2

4

7

4

4

 

20% more

4

2

2

4

3

2

 

30% more

2

1

*

*

1

1

 

40% more

1

1

*

*

1

1

 

Not sure

11

10

10

5

17

5

 

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 
             

TABLE 3

Willingness to pay extra on renewable energy

"The European Commission estimates it would cost each household an extra euro 150/110 pounds sterling/ $220 on a monthly basis on gas and electricity bills to cut green house emissions and get more renewable energy. Given the choice, how likely would you be to pay this extra euro 150/110 pounds/ $220 per month?"

 

Base: Base: All EU and U.S. adults who are responsible or jointly responsible for paying household energy bills (2010)

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

At least somewhat likely (Net)

32

24

23

64

32

35

 

    Very/Completely likely (Sub-Net)

12

4

3

9

7

8

 

      Completely likely

7

1

2

2

4

4

 

      Very likely

5

2

1

7

3

4

 

  Fairly likely

6

9

8

21

9

10

 

  Somewhat likely

14

11

12

34

16

17

 

Not at all likely

68

76

77

36

68

65

 
   
             

 This question was also polled between January 30th and February 8th 2008 by Harris Interactive.  

   

Base: Base: All EU and U.S. adults who are responsible or jointly responsible for paying household energy bills (2008)

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

At least somewhat likely (Net)

29

28

31

43

38

35

 

    Very/Completely likely (Sub-Net)

6

4

4

9

7

6

 

      Completely likely

2

2

1

3

3

3

 

      Very likely

4

2

3

6

4

3

 

  Fairly likely

8

11

10

14

10

9

 

  Somewhat likely

16

13

17

20

21

21

 

Not at all likely

71

72

69

57

62

65

 

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 
             

TABLE 4

Build-in of new nuclear power plants

"How much do you favour or oppose building new nuclear power plants in [INSERT COUNTRY]?"

 

Base: All EU and U.S. adults - 2010

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Strongly oppose

16

14

18

37

24

43

 

Oppose more than favour

34

37

35

23

39

34

 

Favour more than oppose

31

34

35

25

23

16

 

Strongly favour

20

16

13

14

14

7

 
   
             

 This question was also polled between January 30th and February 8th 2008 by Harris Interactive.  

   

Base: All EU and U.S. adults - 2008

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Strongly oppose

17

20

20

21

40

35

 

Oppose more than favour

31

35

31

21

28

29

 

Favour more than oppose

32

32

34

30

20

25

 

Strongly favour

20

13

15

29

12

12

 

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 
             

TABLE 5

Opinion on increase in number of wind farms

"How much do you favour or oppose a large increase in the number of wind farms in [INSERT COUNTRY]?"

 

Base: All EU and U.S. adults - 2010

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Strongly oppose

3

6

6

2

2

4

 

Oppose more than favour

9

12

16

11

9

14

 

Favour more than oppose

37

44

44

38

37

42

 

Strongly favour

50

38

33

49

53

40

 
   
             

Base: All EU and U.S. adults - 2008

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Strongly oppose

1

4

3

2

3

7

 

Oppose more than favour

7

9

8

8

7

14

 

Favour more than oppose

31

39

40

27

35

45

 

Strongly favour

61

48

49

64

55

34

 

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 
             

TABLE 6

Opinion on financial subsidy for bio-fuels

"How much do you favour or oppose a financial subsidy by the government of [INSERT COUNTRY] for bio-fuels?"

 

Base: All EU and U.S. adults - 2010

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Strongly oppose

12

10

12

4

8

9

 

Oppose more than favour

28

22

21

18

16

23

 

Favour more than oppose

46

55

46

44

42

47

 

Strongly favour

14

13

22

33

34

21

 
   
             

Base: All EU and U.S. adults - 2008

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Strongly oppose

8

7

6

2

5

14

 

Oppose more than favour

21

16

10

8

10

21

 

Favour more than oppose

49

55

45

36

47

42

 

Strongly favour

22

23

39

54

38

23

 

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 
             

TABLE 7

Opinion on financial subsidy for nuclear power

"How much do you favour or oppose a financial subsidy by the government of [INSERT COUNTRY] for the development of nuclear power?"

 

Base: All EU and U.S. adults - 2010

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Strongly oppose

17

17

18

38

27

47

 

Oppose more than favour

41

34

38

25

38

35

 

Favour more than oppose

31

36

33

25

23

13

 

Strongly favour

10

13

11

11

13

5

 
   
             

Base: All EU and U.S. adults - 2008

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

Strongly oppose

17

20

19

17

30

34

 

Oppose more than favour

37

38

33

20

35

32

 

Favour more than oppose

35

33

37

32

23

27

 

Strongly favour

12

10

11

30

13

7

 

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

 
             

TABLE 8

International relations – Global Stability

"On a different note, which one, if any, of the following countries do you think is the greatest threat to global stability?"

 

Base: All EU and U.S. adults

 
 

U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

 

U.S.

10

18

9

7

22

16

 

Iran

22

17

37

33

21

20

 

China

21

15

24

28

16

21

 

Russia

3

3

2

3

1

4

 

North Korea

23

16

8

5

9

12

 

Iraq

6

11

10

11

17

13

 

Pakistan

*

1

*

-

*

*

 

Israel

*

1

3

1

1

1

 

Afghanistan

*

*

*

*

*

*

 

No one country (all are a threat)

*

-

1

*

*

-

 

No country (terrorist organisations)

*

-

-

-

-

-

 

Palestine

-

*

*

*

*

*

 

UK

-

1

-

-

-

-

 

Other

*

-

-

-

-

-

 

None

-

-

-

-

-

-

 

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

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