DECC Public Attitudes Tracker – Wave 14 shows support for shale dwindling
DECC Public Attitudes Tracker – Wave 14 released in August 2015 shows that public support for shale gas extraction continues to weaken.
Perhaps the most significant finding is that “support for fracking appears to be linked to awareness…The only group to be more supportive are those that haven’t heard of fracking, of whom 12% support it and 7% oppose it” .
That speaks volumes …
Three quarters of the public were aware of fracking at wave 14 (75%). Awareness of fracking has remained stable over the last 18 months, following a significant increase between wave 2 (42%) and wave 8 (70%). However, only 14% claimed to know a lot about it, compared to 42% saying they knew a little. Just under one in five (19%) were aware of it but didn’t really know what it was. Awareness of fracking was higher for over 45s (upwards of 85%), social grade AB (90%), and people in rural areas (83%).
When asked whether they support or oppose extracting shale gas, almost half of the public neither supported nor opposed it (46%). Amongst those that did offer an opinion, slightly more opposed (28%) extraction of shale than supported it (21%). This is a reversal of the findings when these questions were first asked at wave 8, when 27% supported it against 21% that opposed. This shift towards more opposition has happened gradually over the last 18 months, with support currently at its lowest since the survey began.
Support for fracking appears to be linked to awareness. Amongst those that were only aware of fracking but did not really know what it was, and those that hadn’t heard of it, over 60% selected the neutral option and therefore didn’t give an opinion. There is more opposition than support amongst those who know a lot about it (54% vs. 32%), know a little about it (35% vs. 27%), and those who are aware of it but don’t really know what it is (23% vs. 13%). The only group to be more supportive are those that haven’t heard of fracking, of whom 12% support it and 7% oppose it.
Support for fracking differs by gender, with men (27%) more likely than women (16%) to support it. Older people also tend to support fracking the most, as 30% of over 65s are supportive.
Between February 2014 (Wave 8) and August 2015 (wave 14) the shift in opinion between those who support and those who do not is particularly marked as can be seen here: