As the debate on whether to allow high volume hydraulic fracking in New York state rages on, a new poll reveals a widening gap in opposition to the controversial natural gas extraction process.
According to a poll released Monday by the Siena Research Institute, 45 percent of registered New York state voters are opposed to moving forward with hydrofracking in the state, compared to just 37 percent who support it.
The poll shows the anti-fracking movement gaining momentum, as the poll indicates an increase in opposition, up from 42 percent last month.
Steven Greenberg, a pollster for Siena College, says the 45 percent who oppose hydrofracking – the process of blasting water, sand and chemicals into rocks formations for gas extraction – is the greatest plurality against fracking ever recorded in a Siena College poll.
The poll shows mixed results among men and women, with 48 percent of men supporting fracking in the state compared to 47 percent of women who are opposed to the drilling.
Despite many state lawmakers' claim that allowing hydrofracking in the state will help boost ailing upstate economies – specifically those in the Southern Tier – 52 percent of upstate voters say they are opposed to high-volume, horizontal natural gas drilling. New York City residents also remain adamantly against drilling with just 35 percent of voters supporting the process.
According to the poll results, hydrofracking remains a top issue in New York state with over 60 percent of voters saying they have heard or read a great deal – or some – about the controversial drilling process. Just 21 percent of voters say they know nothing at all about fracking.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has tiptoed the political line, refusing to show his hand on the future of hydrofracking in the state as he gears up for his looming re-election – which many critics of the governor say is the reason he has not yet made a decision on hydrofracking.
The Siena College Poll was conducted between September 22 and 26 and includes 807 registered New York state voters. The poll has a margin of error of 3.4 points.