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Poll: Americans oppose exporting natural gas, support of fracking regulation, and accept climate change

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The latest results from The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll are out (link). The findings indicate that a majority of Americans favor domestic energy production, oppose exporting domestic natural gas, and accept that climate change is occurring.

The UT Energy Poll was developed by the McCombs School of Business and launched in October 2011 to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. The latest wave of the poll surveyed a representative group of 2,000 Americans, weighted using U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as propensity scores, to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the actual U.S. population.

On hydraulic fracturing:

Overall, , 45 percent of respondents familiar with hydraulic fracturing say they support its use for fossil fuel extraction, down from 48 percent a year ago, while 41 percent say they oppose the practice.

However, of this group, only 22 percent of Democrats support fracking, while 60 percent oppose it, and 71 percent of Republicans support fracking, while 20 percent oppose it.

Consumers continued to express concern about possible harm to the environment from the use of hydraulic fracturing, with the potential for water contamination again topping the list of specific concerns.

Hydraulic fracturing remains a divisive issue. Graph from UT Energy Poll, Spring 2013.

On climate change, nearly three-quarters of respondents answered that climate change is occurring, with deforestation, oil, coal listed as significant contributors.

When asked where the government should spend tax dollars, respondents listed job creation, social security, and military as priority items. Infrastructure, energy, and the environment rounded out the bottom of the priorities list (while infrastructure is listed as the least desirable use of tax dollars).

From the UT Energy Poll, Spring 2013.

You can read more about the UT Energy Poll by going to their website (link) and dig in to the top level results for yourself (PDF).

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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