With political posturing ahead of the 2020 election in the United States already heating up, progressive pollster YouGov Blue is out with a new poll that shows a strong plurality of registered voters—46%—supporting measures to restrict oil and gas fracking, including 32% who strongly support a ban.
“Just over 33% of voters polled opposed banning fracking, with slightly more than 22% saying they were ‘strongly’ against the idea,” Huffington Post reports. “Democrats supported the ban most, with 63% in favour, 19% against, and another 19% unsure. Among Independents, 44% supported a ban, 36% opposed it, and 21% were undecided. Just 26% of Republicans backed a ban, while 24% were unsure and 50% opposed it.”
The survey question was scripted to lay out the pros and cons of fracking, before asking respondents whether they would support a ban. “Even with strong counter-arguments, a fracking ban is popular with the American public,” said Sean McElwee, co-founder of Data for Progress, the left-leaning think tank that commissioned the research. “Every Democrat should support it.”
However, “the results differ from past polls on fracking,” HuffPost notes. “In February 2018, the conservative-leaning pollster Rasmussen found 46% of likely U.S. voters favoured fracking, while 39% opposed it and 15% were unsure. “ An earlier study by Oregon State University actually picked up stronger support among people who lived closer to fracking sites.
Meanwhile, a separate research release earlier this year “found that new U.S. oil and gas drilling, 90% of which involves fracking, is set to unleash 1,000 coal plants’ worth of climate pollution by 2050,” writes reporter Alexander C. Kaufman.