PEW RESEARCH CENTER
Those Aware of Fracking Favor Its Use
As Gas Prices Pinch, Support for Oil and Gas Production Grows
At a time of rising gas prices, the public’s energy priorities have changed. More Americans continue to view the development of alternative energy sources as a higher priority than the increased production of oil, coal and natural gas, but the gap has narrowed considerably over the past year.
Moreover, support for allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters, which plummeted during the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, has recovered to pre-spill levels. Nearly two-thirds (65%) favor allowing increased offshore drilling, up from 57% a year ago and 44% in June 2010, during the Gulf spill.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted March 7-11, 2012 among 1,503 adults, finds that 52% say the more important priority for addressing the nation’s energy supply is to develop alternative sources, such as wind, solar and hydrogen technology, while 39% see expanding the exploration and production of oil, coal and natural gas as the greater priority.
A year ago, the public viewed the development of alternative energy sources as the more important priority by a much wider margin (63% to 29%). Since then, support for expanding production of oil and other traditional sources has increased among most demographic and political groups and the shift among Republicans has been particularly pronounced.
In March 2011, Republicans were evenly divided over how to address the energy supply: 47% said the more important priority was to develop alternative sources, while 44% said it was to expand exploration and production of oil, coal and natural gas. In the current survey, just a third of Republicans (33%) view development of alternatives as more important, while 59% say the more important priority is to expand exploration and production of oil and other traditional energy sources.
About The Pew Research Center
“The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. The center conducts public opinion polling, demographic studies, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. It does not take positions on policy issues.”