Whether in New York or nationwide—poll after poll has been showing that people are worried about fracking. Of course, with the stories we continue to hear about impacts next door in Pennsylvania and around the country, that should come as no surprise.
A new poll out this week from Quinnipiac, shows that voters in New York state oppose fracking by a margin of 46% to 39% – a new low for supporters.
This follows a poll published by Siena College in January that indicated a comparable change in public sentiment, as opposition to fracking in Upstate New York crossed above 50% for the first time (51%), somewhat stronger than the Quinnipiac numbers overall. And a March Siena poll showed that Upstate constituents in particular strongly opposition fracking by a wide margin (49-39%).
These snapshots reveal the New York public’s increasingly cautious attitude toward fracking, especially in those regions that actually have skin in the game. And they suggest that Governor Cuomo could leave himself politically vulnerable to a backlash if the state were to move forward with fracking at this time without further health, environmental and legal reviews.
The findings in New York are in line with what we’re hearing from concerned Americans nationwide. As my colleague Amy Mall noted in a January post, two recent national polls show public demand for both tighter regulations and more conclusive health evaluations of fracking’s impacts. They also reflected a consensus across party lines that fracking should not move forward until further risk assessment occurs.
In short, public opinion—in addition to the opinions of leading scientific, health and environmental experts—suggests the Cuomo administration should not rush ahead on fracking. If it does, and the concerns about impacts to our drinking water supplies become reality, the administration will not want to be standing alone.
Instead, these critical snapshots of both shallow support and a deep opposition suggest there is support for the Governor to take the time to get it right.