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Californians are closely synched to Gov. Jerry Brown's views on nuclear power, global warming and other environmental issues, a new Public Policy Institute of California poll has found, but they aren't very approving of how he has handled those issues.

The PPIC poll found that support for nuclear energy, which had been creeping upwards in recent years, plummeted after a tsunami hit Japanese nuclear plants and threatened to create a nuclear disaster. Nearly two-thirds of California adults now oppose building more nuclear plants in California, which now has two in operation -- the lowest level of support ever found in a PPIC poll. Last month, a statewide Field Poll found a similar drop in nuclear power support.

Californians generally support the environmentalist view on other issues, such as the Obama administration's push for higher auto mileage standards, the state's effort to shift much of its power generation to renewable resources, and other anti-global warming policies.

They are evenly divided, however, on whether the state should allow more offshore oil production.

"With spikes in gas prices at home and nuclear power failures in Japan, Californians are strongly supportive of policies that encourage more fuel efficiency and renewable energy," said Mark Baldassare, PPIC president.

"Californians are holding steady in the belief that global warming is underway and threatens the state's future," Baldassare added. "In the wake of federal inaction on the issue, they strongly support the state's climate change policies. With unemployment high, many also see a potential for job creation."

Although Californians' attitudes on environmental issues mirror Brown's positions, the PPIC poll found that just 35 percent approve of how he has handled them, with another 37 percent uncertain on what he's doing. Although the Legislature is generally held in low esteem, it gets higher marks on environmental issues.

Brown's overall approval rating is 42 percent, the same as PPIC found in May. The full poll report can be found here.

Corrected at 11:20 a.m. on Legislature's environmental standing.


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