Americans still believe the benefits of natural gas outweigh the risk: Harris Poll
NEW YORK -- In a year of intense media scrutiny on hydraulic fracturing, the manner in which most oil and natural gas companies access natural gas, two-thirds of Americans (66%) say they believe the benefits of natural gas outweigh the risks while 17% say the risks outweigh the benefits. Natural gas has maintained a relatively low price, compared to other fuels with similar uses (like fuel oil and gasoline). Additionally, it is considered a relatively clean source of energy. For Americans, these factors seem to outweigh the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing, the extraction method most associated with gas.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 adults surveyed online between February 6 and 13, 2012 by Harris Interactive.
There are significant generational differences, however, Echo Boomers (ages 18-35) are less likely to believe the benefits outweigh the risks than Matures (those 67 and older) are (53% vs. 84%). And, people living in the East are less likely than those in the West to agree that the benefits outweigh the risks (60% vs. 71%).
There is also a political difference when it comes to feelings on natural gas. Three out of four Republicans (74%) believe the benefits of natural gas outweigh the risks compared to just over three in five Democrats (62%) and over two-thirds of Independents (69%) who believe the benefits outweigh the risks. Looking at the reverse, the partisan differences are significant, with larger portions of Democrats (21%) and Independents (19%) believing the risks outweigh the benefits than Republicans who believe this (10%).