Goucher Releases Poll Results on Hydraulic Fracturing/Fracking

The Goucher Poll asked Maryland citizens for their perspectives on hydraulic fracturing—or fracking,  a process that uses the high-pressure injection of water, sand, and chemicals to remove natural gas from rocks deep in the earth’s surface.

About half of the respondents to the survey were given questions with the words “hydraulic fracturing or fracking” included. The other half of respondents were given the same questions without the inclusion of the words “hydraulic fracturing or fracking.”

Here are the results for the questions as worded: 

For respondents who heard a description of the process and the words “hydraulic fracturing or fracking”:

  • 51 percent have heard “a lot” or “some” about the process; 48 percent have heard “not much” or “nothing so far.”
  • 37 percent view the process as “very safe” or “somewhat safe;” 34 percent view the process as “not very safe” or “not at all safe;” 29 percent “don’t know” if the process is safe.
  • 49 percent think the state should not encourage the process because of the potential environmental impact; 27 percent think the state should encourage the process.

For respondents who heard a description of the process but without the words “hydraulic fracturing or fracking”:

  • 42 percent have heard “a lot” or “some” about the process; 57 percent have heard “not much” or “nothing so far.”
  • 36 percent view the process as “very safe” or “somewhat safe;” 29 percent view the process as “not very safe” or “not at all safe;” 35 percent “don’t know” if the process is safe.
  • 48 percent think the state should not encourage the process because of the potential environmental impact; 31 percent think the state should encourage the process.

“Our results suggest a potential decrease in perceived safety of the process when residents hear the word ‘fracking,’” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. “Across both sets of questions, we find that about half of Maryland citizens think the state should not encourage the process because of the potential environmental impact, while about 30 percent think the state should encourage it.” 

The poll, conducted March 3-7, surveyed a dual-frame (landlines and cell phones) random sample of 791 Maryland residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.48 percentage points. Margin of error is higher for subsamples. The sample is of all Maryland residents and does not restrict by registered or likely voters.

­­Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center, is available for comment. She can be reached at mileah.kromer@goucher.edu or 724-840-0990.

More information about this round of poll results, including methodology, survey question design, sample demographics, and expanded data, is availble here.

 

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