Is fracking becoming a partisan issue? Is it politically easy for President Obama to support natural gas production? What is his support worth to shaping public opinion? Are people like readers of this blog living in a bubble of our own making? A Pew poll provides insights to answer key questions.
While you may even have heard more than enough about hydraulic fracturing, 37% of the public has heard nothing at all about it. Another 37% have heard a little so that 74% of the public knows nothing or little about fracking. I confess surprise public knowledge or even awareness about it is so low.
As someone well informed about gas production, you are not alone. The Pew poll found that 26% had heard a lot about hydraulic fracturing.
Among the 63% of the public who were aware of the issue, nationally support for hydraulic fracturing was 52-35. There were clear partisan differences in levels of support. Republicans supported it 73-15; Democrats actually opposed fracking by 33-52; and independents supported it 54-35.
This polling shows that fracking may become a polarized partisan issue, though it is not yet. It also demonstrates the importance to preventing further erosion among Democrats and Independents of President Obama's support for gas production and hydraulic fracturing and the strong regulation of both. Plainly, opposition to fracking in Blue America has been stoked by communications like Gasland, the NYT Drilling Down Series, and the recent Rolling Stone Magazine Article.