Fracking in the American Mind

Report Summary

In our September 2012 Climate Change in the American Mind survey, we asked respondents to answer a series of questions about hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as the process is commonly known. This issue has proven to be very controversial in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. Proponents and opponents debate potential impacts on the economy, energy supply, public health, the environment, and communities.

Today we are releasing an extensive analysis of the findings from those survey questions. In “Fracking” in the American Mind: Americans’ Views on Hydraulic Fracturing in September, 2012, we find that, surprisingly, Americans have limited familiarity with this issue, and fewer than half of American adults have developed an opinion in support or in opposition to it. The minority who has formed an opinion are more or less evenly split between supporters and opponents.

Other Key Findings:

  • Support/opposition to hydraulic fracturing varies by gender, age, political party, geographic region, and familiarity with the issue. In general, respondents who are female, younger, and liberal are more opposed. Those who are male, older, and conservative are more supportive.
  • Americans who support hydraulic fracturing associate it with economic and energy supply impacts. Opponents, however, associate it with environmental impacts.

The report includes an Executive Summary as well as charts and tables that examine Americans’ familiarity and support/opposition across gender, age, and other factors.