Americans are turning against fracking in increasing numbers, with 47 percent opposing the practice and only 41 percent in favor of it, according to a new Pew Research poll.
The remainder of those polled (12 percent) didn’t know how they felt about fracking, which is also referred to as hydraulic fracturing. Fracking is a method of drilling for natural gas by blasting open methane gas deposits embedded in shale rock deep underground.
Residents in the states being drilled, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Colorado and others, have formed dozens of citizens groups opposing the practice after drilling contaminated drinking water at various sites. Drilling also emits air pollution and methane, a greenhouse gas. This past election, the city of Denton, Texas, passed a ban on drilling within city limits that state officials already are challenging, setting up a fight with national ramifications that pits those with underground minerals rights against neighbors’ claims to peace, quiet and clean air above ground.
The opposition to fracking was about the same (48 percent) in the last Pew poll in September 2013, but it has grown considerably when compared with Pew’s March 2013 poll, when 38 percent of Americans reported they opposed fracking and 48 percent favored it.
Pew reports that opposition to fracking has grown notably among women, who oppose it 54% to 31%, and among younger adults (those under age 50).
Fifty-three percent of those polled between the ages of 18-29 and 50 percent of those ages 30-49 said they opposed fracking.
Unsurprisingly, support for fracking also has fallen among Midwesterners, perhaps as a result of encroaching drilling in states like Wisconsin.
- The Pew poll was compiled from telephone interviews conducted November 6-9 among a national sample of 1,353 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (541 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 812 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 449 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by interviewers at Princeton Data Source under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.