POLL: Strong local and statewide support for Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant
74% of San Luis Obispo County residents support keeping Diablo Canyon open
58% of Californians support extending the life of the plant
(May 18, 2022) – Newly released polling shows strong local support for extending the operations of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, California’s largest source of carbon free energy generation. Statewide support for extending operations of the plant was also strong, according to the poll conducted by FM3 Research. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced his intent to explore options to continue operations at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. The poll was commissioned by Carbon Free California with input and support from Data for Progress.
“We found that Californians broadly support the continued use of Diablo Canyon Power Plant to generate electricity,” said Dave Metz, partner and president at FM3 Research. “Closer to the plant, in San Luis Obispo County specifically, we saw that support intensify.”
Statewide, 58 percent of voters support continued operation of California’s last existing nuclear power plant, while only 32 percent oppose. In San Luis Obispo County, 74 percent of voters indicated support for continued operation of Diablo Canyon, with 56 percent of respondents “strongly” supporting.
There was strong agreement among voters on the most important benefits of continuing to operate Diablo Canyon, including reducing the likelihood of blackouts (77%), saving more than $2 billion on electric bills (76%), and providing a reliable source of electricity as the state transitions to wind and solar power (75%).
“California voters overwhelmingly approve of carbon-free energy — and support further use of nuclear energy,” said Danielle Deiseroth, lead climate strategist at Data for Progress. “It’s clear that these voters support the Diablo Canyon Power Plant remaining open to reduce electricity costs, enhance grid reliability, and meet our emissions reduction goals.”
The poll provided detailed information about the issue, testing arguments on both sides. Support for extending the use of Diablo Canyon rose to 60% after voters heard pros and cons about the plant’s continued operation.
Overall, the poll found that California voters have become more comfortable with nuclear energy over time, with solid majorities saying they approve of the use of nuclear power to generate electricity and that its benefits outweigh its risks.
Carbon Free California commissioned the poll of 620 registered voters statewide January 11-19, 2022, plus an oversample of San Luis Obispo County voters yielding 217 total interviews.
A more detailed summary of the poll is available here
About Carbon Free California
Carbon Free California is funded by California-based entrepreneurs and brings together leaders from business, labor and the technology sector to focus on creating a pathway to a carbon-free future and securing the clean, reliable energy needed to power the world’s fifth-largest economy. Carbon Free California believes the state must pursue all forms of emission-free energy to address the climate crisis and achieve our urgent emission reduction goals. Extending the operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant will bolster the grid with reliable carbon-free energy and enable the state to transition to increasing shares of wind and solar power, while avoiding disruptive and costly rolling blackouts. Carbon Free California receives no funding from utility or nuclear industry interests.
About Data for Progress
Data for Progress is a progressive think tank and polling firm, which arms movements with data-driven tools to fight for a more equitable future. DFP provides polling, data-based messaging, and policy generation for the progressive movement, and advises campaigns and candidates with the tools they need to win. DFP polling is regularly cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, and hundreds of other trusted news organizations.