A record percentage of New Yorkers now support hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and opposition to the practice fell to a low point in October, according to figures from a Siena College Research Institute poll released Friday.

Forty-two percent of respondents said they supported the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) formulating rules that would govern high-volume fracking in the state, a record high. Conversely, 36% opposed the idea, which was the same from a Siena poll in May. Only 23% had no opinion, didn’t know or didn’t have enough information, another low for the poll.

“While it’s not a groundswell of support, more voters now support DEC moving forward on hydrofracking than in any previous Siena poll,” said Siena pollster Steven Greenberg.

The latest poll showed fracking continued to enjoy support among Republicans (60-23%) and also curried favor among independents (41-36%). But the practice continued to be opposed by Democrats (42-34%). Fracking enjoyed support in New York City (40-32%), the suburbs (44-33%) and Upstate (43-41%). Also, men (46-38%) supported the practice more than women (39-34%).

“As New Yorkers witness the economic success that safe natural gas development has brought to other states such as Pennsylvania and Ohio, more residents here are correctly acknowledging the tremendous benefits it will provide here, including tens of thousands of new jobs and economic prosperity,” said Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York.

In August a Sienna poll found that 48% of Upstate respondents opposed the DEC’s efforts, while 39% of New York City voters supported them (see Shale Daily, Aug. 22). Three months before that, Siena found a slim majority, 37-36%, favored fracking in parts of upstate New York. A Siena poll in July 2011 also reflected support for fracking, 45-45% (see Shale Daily, July 15, 2011).

For Siena’s most recent poll, it surveyed 750 likely voters who are registered to vote in New York State from Oct. 22 to 24. The poll has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.6%.