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Fracking Poll: Precaution over Politics

The majority of New York voters think that Gov. Cuomo should “wait for all necessary health and environmental studies to be completed before opening the state to fracking.”


CatskillMore than seven out of 10 New York state voters (72 percent) think that Governor Cuomo should “wait for all the necessary health and environmental studies to be completed first before opening the state to fracking,” according to a major new Public Policy Polling survey.

Significantly, a closer look at voters in the state’s five southern-tier counties said to be targeted by the Cuomo Administration for fracking shows that a nearly equal number (66 percent) agree New York state should wait for needed environmental and health studies to be completed before fracking proceeds.

The findings are those of the first publicly released survey testing New York voter reaction to a reported Cuomo Administration plan to permit fracking to five New York counties: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga. The PPP survey included 865 voters statewide and 1,356 in the five targeted counties.

Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy member Bruce Ferguson said: “These poll findings make it clear that the Cuomo Administration’s trial balloon is, in fact, a lead balloon. New York state residents understand the importance of precaution over politics. They want to know that their health and environment will be safe before any permits are issued, exposing New York to the same kind of industry practices that have poisoned the air and water in other states.”

Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, said: “The Cuomo Administration and the energy industry will be hard pressed in reviewing these findings to find much to cheer about. In those instances where the public is not deeply divided on some aspect of this issue, they are clearly skeptical and not buying the need to move ahead on fracking. There certainly is no mandate here for anyone who wants to bring hydraulic fracturing to New York State.”

Other statewide findings include the following:

  1. More than four out five New York voters (82 percent) are aware of fracking. Of those who are aware, three out of four are concerned “about the implications of this drilling process for drinking water and the environment in general.”
  2. Well under half (44 percent) of voters are supportive of the reported Cuomo Administration plan on fracking. Just over half of voters statewide (51 percent) are aware of the possible Cuomo Administration plan for fracking.
  3. Voters oppose fracking by a margin of 48 to 44 percent. Only about one in four (26 percent) think that New York State should proceed with fracking without additional research being completed.

Key findings for the five counties targeted for possible fracking include the following:

  1. Contrary to the assertion that these counties would welcome fracking, the population is evenly divided over the issue. While 51 percent of the residents are supportive, or very supportive, of the plan, 48 percent oppose it, or strongly oppose it. (This is well within the ±2.66 percent margin of error.)
  2. Nearly nine out of 10 voters (89 percent) are aware of fracking. Of those who are aware, more than two out of three (68 percent) are concerned “about the implications of this drilling process for drinking water and the environment in general.”

The New York state survey by Public Policy Polling was conducted June 15 to 17, 2012, with a statewide sample of 865 New York voters and a margin of error of ±3.3 percent. The same survey included a sample of 1,356 voters in five New York counties (Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Steuben and Tioga), and had a margin of error of ±2.66 percent. Public Policy Polling conducted automated telephone surveys of registered voters using voter lists provided by Aristotle Inc. At least three attempts were made to reach every potential respondent.

Public Policy Polling is a national survey research firm located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the two most accurate polling companies in the country for its swing state polling in 2008. More recently, it was recognized by the Washington Post and Politico for its pinpoint polling of the surprising results in the Delaware Republican Senate primary and the Massachusetts Senate special election.

For complete poll results, please visit The Public Policy Polling poll was commissioned by the Civil Society Institute. For more information, please visit

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