Pew: Support for fracking slipping, but Keystone XL still popular

A Pew Research Center survey shows that support for hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a technique for freeing oil and natural gas trapped within layers of shale rock, is falling among Americans.

As the graphic shows, 41 percent of Americans supported the drilling technique in the recent survey, down from 44 percent in September 2013 and 41 percent in March 2013.

fracking graphicBut the proportion opposed also decreased, from 49 percent in September 2013 to 47 percent. It’s the “I don’t know” response that’s on the upswing, from 7 percent to 12 percent.

The fracking survey was a key data point among a wide-ranging set of opinions Pew solicited from Americans on their views about the midterm elections and about political leaders of both major parties.

Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would deliver oil from Canada’s oil-sands formations to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, still enjoys majority support. According to Pew, 59 percent of respondents support its construction. But that’s down from March 2013, when 66 percent supported the project.

Currently, 83 percent of Republicans surveyed support it, compared with only 43 percent of Democrats.