Editor & Publisher, Marcellus Drilling News (MDN)
The latest Marist Poll of New York voters on the subject of fracking reveals it has become a largely partisan issue, unlike other states where Democrats and Republicans have both supported it – a sad reflection on Andrew Cuomo’s lack of leadership.
A new public opinion poll of New Yorkers was released yesterday by the Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist College polling collaboration. Among the questions asked was this (poorly worded) one: “Hydrofracking is a process of splitting rocks underground to remove natural gas. From what you have read or heard, do you generally support or oppose hydrofracking in New York State at the Marcellus Shale?” For years the answers have been roughly even, about 40% for, 40% against and 20% clueless.
This latest NY poll shows the following statewide average (among Adults): 37% support fracking, 47% oppose it, and 16% are clueless/unsure. So, a few more of the unsure people have now become sure and it’s breaking against fracking, maybe a few who used to support it no longer do, and those who were against it remain ideologically rigid and impervious to overwhelming evidence that fracking is safe (i.e. willfully stupid). End result: a few more are now in the opposition column. However, it’s when you dig into the numbers and the breakdowns by party, political philosophy, gender and geography that it becomes interesting…
Here are the poll results as reported by Marist, the agency doing the polling. It’s pretty easy to see what’s going on. Here’s MDN’s take (based on the numbers in the Registered Voters section):
- If you’re a conservative Republican, you support fracking. If you’re a liberal Democrat, you oppose it. Yes, this is painting with a broad brush and there are exceptions, but by and large fracking IS a partisan issue and it simply cannot be denied. The evidence is plain to see in the polling numbers.
- If you’re between the ages of 30-59 (the people who pay for everyone else’s welfare), you generally support fracking; younger or older than that range, you typically oppose it.
- If you live in Upstate, where fracking will actually be done, you’ve made up your mind. A slight majority oppose it, but there are very few in Upstate at this point who are clueless/unsure about the fracking issue.
- If you’re a married man you support fracking, and if you’re an unmarried woman you hate it.
We’d say that about sums it up. Not that it ultimately matters because it’s quite likely that fracking will be decided by New York’s courts, not by popular public opinion.
Editor’s Note: There are several caveats to these results.
First, the Marist Poll reportedly defines “Upstate” as everything north of Rockland and Westchester Counties, which means it includes the anti-everything Hudson Valley and vast areas of the state with zero potential for shale development. The extended Southern Tier is the only area where it will actually take place and we know from recent elections what the opinion is there.
Secondly, there is no natural gas service in much of this area to give residents a stake in the matter, as is the case with Suburbs where a plurality of Registered Voters actually realize their heat comes from natural gas (unlike Alec Baldwin, et al) and support fracking by a margin of 41% to 39%.
Finally, what these results indicate is a sharp contrast with national results that is only explainable by one thing; a Governor’s total lack of leadership. Andrew Cuomo has made a decision not to decide, consistent with his “to be or not to be” Hamlet, Jr. on the Hudson moniker. Other blues state governors from California, Colorado and Illinois have had little trouble deciding and have chosen to lead but not Cuomo, who is captive to fears of the millionaire leftists and trust-funders who represent so much of his political funding base and consider most of the state as just another part of “flyover country.” Failure to lead, of course, creates a vacuum that is filled by others, which makes it increasingly difficult to assert leadership later. That is New York today. Fracking has become partisan because Hamlet, Jr. has boxed himself and his state into a corner. It now appears increasingly likely, as Jim has suggested, that courts will be required to do what an all-style and no-substance Governor won’t.