Polls on hydraulic fracturing

To frac or not to frac; that is the question, and in a recent study by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute, the often controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing appears to be gaining acceptance.

The new RMU survey polled 1,003 adults and it revealed that 56 percent of the people support hydraulic fracturing while 44 percent are still against the process that extracts natural gas from shale plays around the country. The support even remained constant for frac’ing within the locality of where the surveyors lived.

Those with an opinion of frac’ing, 80 percent believe the practice has the potential to help the country’s economy, and 74 percent said frac’ing is helping the country to move toward energy independence. However, nearly 60 percent said the environmental impact of gas drilling outweighs energy independence or any reduced energy costs that may result.

Other polls that were conducted this year show that opinions regarding frac’ing are still in a state of flux, and regional differences remain apparent. For example, a poll conducted by the Republican polling firm, American Viewpoint and the Democratic firm, Greenberg Quinlan Rosener Research showed that more than 70 percent of 1,500 California residents were in favor of banning frac’ing, or enacting additional state regulations to ensure its safety. The same poll showed substantial differences in opinions based on political party affiliation, with 62 percent of Republicans supporting frac’ing, and 52 percent of Democrats opposed to it.

The Siena Research Institute released an earlier poll taken by 1,154 New York voters and was released in February. It showed a near-even split between supporters of frac’ing, and those who were opposed to frac’ing. The survey also showed that 40 percent of people polled were in support of lifting the statewide moratorium on frac’ing, while 40 percent were against lifting the ban. The remaining 20 percent had no opinion.

Keep in mind that most of these polls only reflect a small number of people’s opinions, and the flow of these opinions will typically be different depending on the state you’re from, the region you live in, and so forth. If hydraulic fracturing is taking place nearby, one may feel different about the process then someone living 500 miles away. Hydraulic fracturing may be gaining acceptance in western Pennsylvania, however, these opinions vary across the country.

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Kelly Grago

Kelly Grago was born and raised in the quaint town of Sewickley, Pennsylvania. She is a recent graduate of Robert Morris University where she earned a B.A. in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Kelly currently works as an Intern in External Affairs for Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation where her responsibilities include writing for Cabot’s social media, scheduling content and event planning.

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