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Gallup Poll Shows Americans Split on Fracking, 40-40%

A Gallup poll conducted earlier this month found that Americans are evenly split on hydraulic fracturing (fracking), with 40% in support of the practice, 40% opposed, and 19% with no opinion.

The poll was performed March 5-8, before the U.S. Department of Interior issued its long-awaited rule for fracking on public and tribal lands (see Shale DailyMarch 20). The announcement rankled industry and some environmental groups alike.

According to Gallup, respondents who identified themselves as Republicans support fracking 66-20%, while independents oppose the practice 44-35%, and Democrats even more so (54-26%). Fifteen percent of Republicans had no opinion on the practice, and neither did 21% of independents and Democrats.

The poll showed support for fracking grew along with the age of the respondents. Those aged 65 and older supported the practice by a 52-32% margin, while those aged 50-64 backed it 46-37%. But respondents aged 30-49 opposed fracking, 45-35%, as were their counterparts aged 18-29 (44-32%). Sixteen percent of respondents 65 and older had no opinion, while 17% of those aged 50-64, 20% of those aged 30-49, and 24% of those aged 18-29 also had no opinion.

Respondents who said they were an "active participant" in the environmental movement opposed fracking, 53-24%, with 23% saying they had no opinion. Those who identified themselves as a "sympathetic participant" to the environmental movement also opposed fracking, 49-30%, with 21% having no opinion. People who said they were neutral or were "unsympathetic" to the environmental movement supported fracking, 57-28%, with 16% having no opinion.

Gallup surveyed 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 4% at the 95% confidence level.

Polls have shown that support and opposition to fracking are also impacted by geography. Last September, a poll conducted in Pennsylvania and New York found that a combined 54% of respondents in Pennsylvania, where fracking is legal, either strongly or somewhat support fracking, but a combined 56% of those who took the poll in New York, where fracking is banned, either strongly or somewhat oppose the practice (see Shale DailySept. 9, 2014).

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