A new survey of Americans on the topic of fracking appears in the upcoming February issue of the peer-reviewed journal Energy Policy. The survey, titled “Fracking” controversy and communication: Using national survey data to understand public perceptions of hydraulic fracturing (full draft copy embedded below) was actually conducted in September 2012–so the data is already quite old. Apparently 15 months is how long it takes to get your articles reviewed by journals like Energy Policy. A lot has happened in the last 15 months: FrackNation and Gasland II were both released, Dimock faded away as an issue, Pennsylvania’s natural gas production more than doubled, the U.S. became the world’s #1 producer of both natural gas and oil–the list goes on. Still, the survey is interesting and yields confirmation of what we already know along with the odd insight into what can be used as a predictor of whether or not someone will support fracking and shale drilling.
For example, if you’re conservative, educated and like to let the free market determine which energy sources should win, you support fracking. Conversely, if you’re liberal, less educated and like the idea of government picking the winners (that is, you have a touch of fascism in your philosophy), you don’t support fracking. If you’ve been reading MDN for any length of time, you already know all of this. The benefit of this particular survey is the scientific “rigor” used in testing which characteristics are good predictors of support or lack of support–and which characteristics are not good predictors. That’s what is interesting to MDN about this particular study.