Methane Gas 'Fracking:' 3 Polls Show Public Leaning Toward Yes

Pew, Siena and American Agriculturist poll results favor natural gas fracking. Support is growing in New York State, but Cuomo keeps it on hold.

Published on: Apr 9, 2013

Last week, Pew Research released results of an extensive new national poll on several environmental-related issues. Methane gas fracking was among them.

The results weren't surprising, says Jim Willis, editor of Marcellus Drilling News. A majority favor increased use of hydraulic fracturing, popularly known as "fracking". Here's quick look at the Pew results:

•Regional differences in favor of increased fracking: 55% of Midwest, 52% of South, 43% of West, and 37% of Northeast.
•Differences by sex: Some 55% of men favor increased fracking. Only 41% of women do so.
•By political persuasion: 66% of Republicans favor increased fracking, compared to 33% of Democrats. Some 51% of independents favor it.

3 Polls Show Public Leaning Towards Methane Gas Fracking
3 Polls Show Public Leaning Towards Methane Gas 'Fracking'

A Siena College Research Institute poll found that 42% of New Yorkers support fracking vs. 36% who oppose it. In August, the numbers were 39% supporting vs. 38% opposing.

According to Siena pollster Steven Greenberg, "While it's not a groundswell of support, more voters now support the Department of Environmental Conservation moving forward on hydrofracking than in any previous Siena poll.

In August, a plurality of upstate voters and women had opposed fracking. Now, small pluralities of both are in support," says Greenberg. "Democrats in opposition and independents in support are more closely divided than are Republicans, who overwhelmingly support fracking by a 60% to 23% margin."

Am Ag rural poll: 42% say fracking is safe
American Agriculturist's poll of 844 people attending late February's New York Farm Show found that 42% consider fracking safe for the environment and water quality. Some 30% of this largely rural New York audience consider fracking unsafe.

Another 28% noted were undecided. One reason for this relatively high undecided count is that farmers and landowners have more at risk than everyday consumers. The value of their farmland and the health of their families and livestock depend on clean water.re

So what's the hold-up in N.Y. now?
Willis, a champion for fracking in the Empire State, suggests it's because Governor Andrew Cuomo has presidential aspirations, and wants to retain support of the environmentalists. According to Associated Press sources, Cuomo put fracking on hold after a series of phone calls from former brother-in-law Robert Kennedy, president of NYC-based Waterkeeper Alliance and senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.