Fracking is wildly unpopular — and may be politically toxic in central North Carolina — according to a new poll commissioned by the North Carolina Environmental Partnership.
The July poll looked at attitudes toward the controversial practice, slated to begin in 2015, in eight individual state House and Senate districts where the partnership ran print, television and direct mail advertising with information about the dangers of fracking.
In Senate District 12, which is comprised of Lee and Harnett counties, as well as part of Johnston County, 61 percent of those polled disapproved of fracking, with only 31 percent approving. That’s a 36 point swing in approval from a poll of the district conducted in January, according to the poll memo. Republican Ron Rabin represents District 12.
In House District 51, held by Republican (and friend of the Rant) Mike Stone, just 26 percent of those polled said they approve of fracking, with a whopping 67 percent disapproving. District 51 covers a portion of Lee County where fracking is most likely to occur.
Both Stone and Rabin have consistently voted in favor of fracking, including for the passage of Senate Bill 786, which is said to have “fast tracked” the process.
The poll memo notes three primary findings: “Majorities and pluralities now disapprove of fracking,” “the intensity behind fracking disapproval is growing,” and “concerns about fracking have risen dramatically.”
“In SD-12 only 36 percent rated fracking an 8 or higher back in January; now that figure has grown to a majority of 55 percent,” the memo reads. “Similar increases have occurred in SD-18 and SD-19, where the very high level of concern group grew from 36 and 31 percent in January, respectively, to 47 and 44 percent in July. While the issue of fracking was somewhat obscure to the general public earlier this year, it’s now a very important issue for North Carolinians.”
Read the entire poll memo here.