Latest DECC attitude tracker reveals…
The latest DECC public attitude tracker reveals…
…that despite the extensive media coverage and online discussion about shale gas that we’ve seen in recent years, public opinion remains resolutely ambivalent with most people neither supporting nor opposing the idea of extracting natural gas using the technique known as fracking.
As you can see in this chart, the profile of opinion is much like the standard distribution curve you might expect to see when asking the public about anything from housing to welfare to immigration.
What it tells us is that, far from a groundswell of widespread public opposition, most people that know something about shale gas have no opinion on it either way (44%) or don’t know (5%).
In fact, the percentage expressing support for or opposition to shale gas also remains stubbornly static overall, with slight fluctuations each time this survey is repeated.
Meanwhile, a survey for Greenpeace conducted recently by ComRes found that 42% of respondents wanted to see shale gas extraction go ahead in Britain, with only 35% opposed, and 23% still undecided.
GE2015 litmus test
The upcoming general election on 7th May 2015 is likely to prove the real litmus test for public opinion on shale gas and fracking. According to Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, over 1,000 prospective parliamentary candidates have signed their Frack Free Promise (over half of which, not unexpectedly, are Green Party candidates).
If the public at large are overwhelmingly against the safe and responsible exploitation of Britain’s domestic onshore shale gas resources, then their voting at the ballot box will surely reflect this.
Interestingly, in our poll here, the Conservative Party are currently in front with 64% of the vote despite their solid and vocal support for shale gas.