Polls, while arguably easy to manipulate, are one of the best methods for gauging public opinion on hot topic issues. Three polls, all conducted between 2014 and 2015, give an intriguing overview of the public’s stance on fracking, with results ranging from very supportive to outright rejection. The earliest poll, conducted by Pew in November of 2014, shows that while opposition to fracking did not increase from 2013, the number of those in support of fracking decreased. In other words, people are in the process of shifting from support to opposition, but many are still in the in-between phase.
The second poll, conducted by Gallup in March 2015, paints the conversation as more evenly split, with 40% of the population favoring fracking and 40% opposing it. This also shows that a large percentage of the public is generally ambivalent, which could be a result of misinformation or a lack of education. An important factor for both sides to consider is the paucity of knowledge about fracking, and the serious need for informational outreach.
The final poll is most specific to the region we are studying, the Marcellus Shale. This poll, conducted by Robert Morris University, surveyed exclusively Pennsylvanians in mid-2015, and found that an overwhelming 57% supported fracking. 74% of these supporters cited economic enhancement as a primary reason for their opinion, which is logical considering the fact that these are the people who would be benefitting most from future employment. However, it is also important to note that this poll demonstrated a concern for environmental damages, specifically pollution and earthquakes. Though Pennsylvanians support additional fracking at face value, they still prioritize their land and would like to see it used as sustainably as possible.