Fracking receives support in new national poll

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A plurality of Americans are in favor of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" to extract natural gas from the ground, according to a survey of...

A plurality of Americans are in favor of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" to extract natural gas from the ground, according to a survey of 1,003 adults by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media.

After a balanced presentation of fracking offered by energy groups and environmental groups, 42.3 percent reported they strongly support fracking while 32.8 percent expressed opposition – somewhat or strongly.  Many, 24.9 percent, were unsure.

Among those with an opinion, the majority, 56.4 percent, supports fracking and 43.6 percent are opposed.

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“It is interesting that a majority is in support of fracking. Just three years ago, when there was staunch opposition to fracking by many environmental groups, I think you would have been lucky to have a third of poll respondents in support of fracking,” said Tony Kerzmann, assistant professor of engineering at RMU.

Among those with an opinion:

  • 59.6 percent suggest the environmental impact of gas drilling outweighs any resulting reduced energy costs or energy independence;
  • 73.9 percent see new drilling technologies, which allow fracking, helping the United States move to energy independence;
  • 80.1 percent suggest fracking has the potential to help the United States economy; and
  • 60.2 percent suggest the United States begin exporting new natural gas resources resulting from fracking.

Forty percent of all respondents strongly or somewhat supported fracking in their hometown; while 34.7 percent were strongly or somewhat opposed. One-quarter, 25.3 percent, were unsure. Among those with an opinion, 53.6 percent would support fracking in their hometown.

The Poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media. Polling by the Institute is conducted on a regular basis and may also include spontaneous polling on occurring events.

The Poll sampled opinions of 1,003 approximately proportional to state population contribution nationwide. The survey was conducted Oct. 23 to Nov. 1, 2013. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis. 

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