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Americans divided on fracking, keen on solar and wind energy

Americans oppose and support 'fracking' for oil and gas in equal numbers. But large majorities want to see increased emphasis on renewable energy, polls show. Solar and wind power are number one and two in popularity.

"Do you favor or oppose

hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking'

as a means of increasing the production of natural gas and oil in the US?"

That's the question the Gallup public opinion survey organization asked a random sample of 1,025 adult Americans living in all 50 states between March 5-8, 2015. The results just released show that 40 percent said they favored fracking, 40 percent opposed it, and the rest had no opinion.

But the results correlated strongly with political preference. Two-thirds of Republicans (66 percent) favored fracking; only 20 percent opposed it. By contrast, only a third (35 percent) of 'independents' - people unaffiliated with either of the two main US political parties - favored fracking, while 44 percent were opposed. Just a quarter of Democrats (26 percent) favored fracking; more than half (54 percent) were opposed.

Most Americans like solar and wind power best

For renewable energy, polling results were also divided along partisan lines, but somewhat less so. In a poll conducted two years ago and surveying a random sample of 1,022 American adults from all 50 states, Gallup asked the following question:

"Do you think that as a country, the United States should put more emphasis, less emphasis, or about the same emphasis as it does now on producing domestic energy from each of the following sources -- ?"

Gallup then listed six different energy sources. In order of highest support to lowest support, the poll found Americans ranked the six energy sources as follows: Solar (highest), wind, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, and coal (lowest).

76 percent of Americans wanted more solar power; 71 percent more wind; 65 percent more natural gas. Only 46 percent wanted more oil, 37 percent more nuclear power, and 31 percent more coal.

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