Citizen Knowledge and Choices on the Complex Issue of Nuclear Energy

James H. Kuklinski, Daniel S. Metlay, W. D. Kay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The rise of a new set of complex and highly consequential issues has generated a heated debate about the place of the citizen in the decision-making process. This article examines how citizens choose one policy option over another on nuclear energy and whether informed citizens use a decision calculus fundamentally different from that of the uninformed. Knowledgeable citizens, we find, rely heavily on ideology, which also colors their cost-benefit calculations, while the unknowledgeable draw on their generalized out- looks toward technology and the cues provided by groups involved in the nuclear energy controversy.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-642
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 1982


  • nuclear power
  • voting
  • nuclear power plants
  • nuclear fuels
  • electricity
  • political ideologies
  • political campaigns
  • maximum likelihood estimation
  • political attitudes
  • energy

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