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Fracing Sees Support

Monday, November 18, 2013
  • Fracing in My Own Backyard? Majorities Would Welcome It
  • Majorities See New Drilling Technologies Helping U.S. Gain Energy Independence
  • Strong Majority Sees Fracing Helping the U.S. Economy

Pittsburgh, November 18, 2013 – A plurality of Americans are in favor of hydraulic fracturing or “fracing” to extract natural gas from the ground, according to a survey of 1,003 adults by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media.

After a balanced presentation of fracing (sometimes spelled “fracking”) offered by energy groups and environmental groups, 42.3 percent reported they strongly support fracing while 32.8 percent expressed opposition – somewhat or strongly.  Many, 24.9 percent, were unsure.

Among those with an opinion, the majority, 56.4 percent, supports fracing and 43.6 percent are opposed.

“It is interesting that a majority is in support of fracing. Just three years ago, when there was staunch opposition to fracing by many environmental groups, I think you would have been lucky to have a third of poll respondents in support of fracing,” said Tony Kerzmann, assistant professor of engineering at RMU.

“With the economic benefits many regions have experienced, and having experienced minimal environmental problems, even the environmental groups are starting to join forces with oil and gas companies,” said Kerzmann.

Among those with an opinion:

  • 59.6% suggest the environmental impact of gas drilling outweighs any resulting reduced energy costs or energy independence;
  • 73.9% see new drilling technologies which allow fracing helping the United States move to energy independence;
  • 80.1% suggest fracing has the potential to help the United States economy; and
  • 60.2% suggest the United States begin exporting new natural gas resources resulting from fracing.

Two-fifths of all respondents, 40 percent, strongly or somewhat supported fracing in their own hometown while 34.7 percent were strongly or somewhat opposed.  One-quarter, 25.3 percent, were unsure. Among those with an opinion, 53.6 percent would support fracing in their own hometown.

ABOUT THE POLL: The Poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media. Polling by the Institute is conducted on a regular basis and may also include spontaneous polling on occurring events.

METHODOLOGY:  The Poll sampled opinions of 1003 approximately proportional to state population contribution nationwide. The survey was conducted October 23 – November 1, 2013. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.  


Robert Morris University, founded in 1921, is a private, four-year institution with an enrollment of approximately 5,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university offers 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate programs. An estimated 22,000 alumni live and work in western Pennsylvania.

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