I think you give people too little credit. Most people that fear "nuclear" tend to know that it's fission, not fusion that they fear. Fusion has too often in media been portrayed as the "miracle cure" for energy scarcity to be lumped in with "nuclear" fears.
I think if you ask your average high school graduate who hasn't had a day of higher education the difference between fission and fusion nuclear technology you'd be surprised how few people know or even have a modicum of understanding on the differences.
People in the US are afraid of nuclear nuclear technology - shit even the insurance industry in the US is afraid of it because the only way new nuclear power plants get built is if the US government takes a portion of the liability in case of an accident.