May 17, 2011
5/17: Hydrofracking in NYS: No Consensus Among Residents … About One in Five Unsure
Hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as hydrofracking, is the process of extracting natural gas from underground rock formations. And, it’s increasingly becoming a topic for debate in New York State. Where do New Yorkers stand on the issue?
According to this NY1/YNN-Marist Poll, New Yorkers divide on the issue. 41% oppose hydrofracking while 38% support it. A notable 21% are unsure. Similar proportions of registered voters statewide share these views.
Regionally, there’s no majority on either side of the ledger. 47% of those upstate are against hydrofracking while 37% support it. 39% in New York City oppose the process while 35% favor it. However, in the suburbs of New York City, 46% are for hydrofracking while 36% are against it.
There are partisan differences on this question. While pluralities of Democrats — 47% — and non-enrolled voters — 46% — oppose the process, nearly half of Republicans — 49%– support it.
“Many New Yorkers have yet to weigh in on this issue,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “The question is what will happen to the public’s opinion about hydrofracking as both sides make their case.”
The Nitty-Gritty of Hydrofracking: Environmental Concerns Trump Oil Independence … Jobs
There are compelling arguments, both, for and against hydrofracking. Those who support it say it will make us more independent from foreign oil. Those who oppose it argue it will contaminate the community water supply and the environment. Which do New Yorkers think is more important?
A majority statewide — 56% — choose preserving the water supply as a priority. However, almost four in ten residents — 39% — select oil independence. Five percent are unsure.
Although the desire to preserve the community water supply is the choice of a majority of New Yorkers regardless of region, those in New York City — 60% — and in its suburbs — 57% — are more likely to say so. This compares with 51% upstate.
More than six in ten Democrats — 62% — and a majority of those not enrolled in any party — 57% — report environmental concerns top that of foreign oil dependence. Republicans divide. 49% believe preserving the water supply is more important compared with 47% who say independence from foreign oil should be the higher concern.
When stacked up against creating jobs, environmental concerns still outweigh economic ones. A majority — 52% — believe preserving the water supply should be of the utmost importance while 41% say creating jobs should be the top priority. Six percent are unsure.
Once again, majorities of Democrats — 59% — and New York State voters not belonging to a party — 58% — place more importance on the environment while Republicans divide. 47% of Republicans choose preserving the water supply. An additional 47%, though, say creating jobs trumps environmental concerns.
Residents in the New York City suburbs — 58% — are most likely to place importance on preserving the water supply from contamination. 52% of those upstate and half — 50% — of those in New York City agree with this view.
One in Four New York City Residents Don’t Know Source of Their Water
While 75% of those living in New York City correctly identify upstate reservoirs as their primary source of water, 25% do not. Included in this 25% are 11% who think they get their water mostly from the Hudson River, 1% who report it comes from the Long Island Sound, and 13% who are unsure.