Americans split on fracking

August 25, 2013, 12:15 AM GMT+0

Many Americans are unsure on whether fracking is safe or not, while Democrats and Republicans are at loggerheads over whether it should be used more widely.

President Obama is planning to visit upstate New York this week and while he hopes to talk about education, it is likely that he will be drawn into a contentious debate over the future of 'fracking'. Fracking involves injecting a mix of water, sand and chemicals into underground layers of rock in order to break the rock and release natural gas. Supporters say that it plays a major role in the country becoming energy independent, but opponents highlight environmental concerns, noting the some towns have seen their water supplies allegedly poisoned - or totally depleted - by fracking.

The latest research from YouGov shows that the public is almost exactly evenly split between three camps on the issue of whether fracking is safe or not. One third of Americans say that it is safe, another third say that it is not while the remaining third of the public aren't sure either way.

Nevertheless, there is a clear partisan divide on the issue, with Republicans and Democrats disagreeing on whether fracking should be used more often. 59% of Republicans say that it should be used more often, while only 13% of Democrats agree. 42% of Democrats oppose more fracking, compared to only 5% of Republicans.

One of the major battlegrounds on the issue of fracking will be federal regulations for the practice. Currently national regulations are weak, but the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency are drawing up tougher rules to govern the industry. When asked whether the federal government currently regulates fracking enough, the public is largely split, with 27% saying that it does not regulate fracking enough while 26% say that it regulates it too much. The percentage of Americans saying that there is too much regulation of fracking (26%) is notably lower than the percentage who say that there is too much federal regulation of business in general (40%).

Full results can be found here.

Image: Getty.

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