ICYMI: The Cornell University Survey Research Institute released its latest look at hydrofracking and natural-gas drilling, finding more New Yorkers believe the risks outweigh the rewards as the state debates whether to green-light the extraction process.
The poll, released quietly last week but officially announced today, is the culmination of a three-year look at New York’s opinion on hydrofracking, according to the university.
Here’s how it broke down: 52 percent of those surveyed in 2011 found that “the risk of contaminating the drinking water outweighs any revenues that would come to NYS from natural gas drilling,” with 27 percent opting for the opposite. The numbers were nearly identical in 2010.
In 2012, the university polled on the quality of life impact from gas drilling. Thirty-two percent said their quality of life would improve if hydrofracking is allowed; 23 percent said it would stay the same; and 45 percent said it would get worse.
The poll results are in contrast to many recent polls by well-known polling institutes at Siena College and Quinnipiac University, which have repeatedly found New York voters are essentially split on the merits of gas drilling.
As always with polls, the way the question was asked is quite important to the results. Here’s how Cornell posed its risk v. rewards question:
Which statement best reflects your opinion about natural gas drilling in New York State? 1. The revenues that would come to NYS from natural gas drilling outweigh any risk of contaminating the drinking water, 2. The risk of contaminating the drinking water outweighs any revenues that would come to NYS
from natural gas drilling, 3. Do not know enough about the natural gas drilling issue.
Here’s the survey: