Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D, points at a illustration of existing pipeline, while speaking at a news conference about the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Capitol Hill in Washington, earlier this year. A new Pew Research Center survey found that the 66 percent of the American public favors the proposed pipeline, while the natural-gas drilling process known as fracking has become less popular. (Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press)
Yesterday, Pew Research Center released the results of their latest survey on the American public’s opinion on fracking. Apparently Yoko Ono isn’t the only one opposed to natural-gas drilling process.
The survey, conducted March 13-17 on 1,501 adults, shows that 48 percent of those asked favor the increased use of the drilling process, while 38 percent are opposed to fracking. Though the latter percentage may seem low, this shows a 3 percent increase in favor of the opposition; the percentage of the former also shows a 4 percent decrease, as the public’s opinion continues to change.
Taking a closer look at the data shows that the divide is also geographical. In the Midwest and the South, 55 percent and 52 percent respectively favor the drilling process, while the West (43 percent) and the Northeast (37) are less inclined. With the Marcellus Shale and Utica Shale stretching across a great expanse of land in the Northeast, it isn’t surprising to find the staunch difference in opinion between the shale rich region and the rest of the nation.
The debate can also be broken into political ideologies, level of education, and gender, with Republicans, men and those with some college, high school or less education favoring fracking.
“Boy, the partisan gap is really striking given that it’s a fairly low visibility issue,” Carroll Doherty, the Associate Director for the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, told State Impact Pennsylvania.
Aside from fracking, the Pew Research Center survey also dealt with the hotly debated Keystone XL Pipeline, which, if completed, would bring oil from the Canadian tar sands to the American Gulf Coast.
With both nations set to make a large profit off the pipeline, tensions have been high while the Obama administration prepares to make its decision. If it were up to the American people, the pipeline would soon be operational.
Even though environmentalists have openly voiced their concerns over the new pipeline, 66 percent of Americans favor the new connection between Canada and the United States, uniting all political parties, levels of education, and gender in agreement over the Keystone XL Pipeline.
The American public may be willing to take a risk for economic gain, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t aware of the potential global warming impacts it creates.
According to the survey, 69 percent of those asked agree that there is solid evidence of global warming. Of those that see solid evidence for global warming, 42 percent believe that global warming is caused mostly by human activity, the most popular answer among possible causes of the issue.