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Voters Express More Concern About Radiation, Economic Fallout From Japan

With Japan now admitting its ongoing nuclear plant crisis is as bad as Chernobyl, concern about radiation from that plant reaching the United States has risen, and Americans are more worried about the overall impact on the U.S. economy.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters are at least somewhat concerned that radiation that escapes from Japanese nuclear plants may reach this country, with 15% who are Very Concerned. The overall finding is up from 39% in late March. While it's the highest finding to date, it's in line with the level of concern earlier last month shortly after the crisis began. At the same time, the number who are Very Concerned is unchanged from the previous survey.

Most Americans (53%) continue to express little concern about the dangers from Japanese radiation, but that includes just eight percent (8%) who are Not At All Concerned. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

However, 69% of voters now believe the crisis caused by the earthquake in Japan will hurt the U.S. economy. That's up nine points from 60% a month ago. Nine percent (9%) believe the Japanese crisis will help the economy, while 13% say it will have no impact.

The huge earthquake on March 11 prompted a tsunami which in turn severely damaged the Fukushima nuclear facility leading to the existing problems there.

Eighty-six percent (86%) of voters say they have followed news reports about the ongoing problems in Japan since its earthquake last month, with 41% who have followed Very Closely.

Female voters remain more concerned than male voters about the possibility of radiation from Japan reaching these shores. Adults ages 30 to 64 express less concern that those who are younger and older than they are.

Women are also slightly more concerned than men about the potential economic impact from the Japanese crisis.

Rasmussen Reports will release new data at noon today about how voters feel about nuclear power in the United States and the building of more nuclear plants.

Rasmussen Reports is an electronic media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion polling information.  We poll on a variety of topics in the fields of politics, business and lifestyle, updating our site's content on a news cycle throughout the day, everyday.

Rasmussen Reports Platinum Members get an all-access pass to polling news, analysis and insight not available to the general public.

Scott Rasmussen , president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters nationwide was conducted on April 13-14, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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©2011 Rasmussen Reports, LLC

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