Pa. voters back fracking, but not in state parks

Shale drilling in Bradford County. Pennsylvanians support drilling for natural gas by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, but a majority is opposed when it occurs under state parks and forests, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Friday. (Daniel Acker/Bloomberg, file)

By a wide margin, Pennsylvania voters support drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale but they draw the line at fracking beneath state parks and forest lands, according to Quinnipiac University poll results released Friday.

Gov. Corbett’s order opening state parks and forests to some gas exploration could be a drag on his reelection effort, the survey suggests.

Democrats narrowly oppose Marcellus drilling, 48 percent to 41 percent, the only exception to the general support across demographic subgroups. By region, support ranges from 48 percent to 43 percent in the four suburban counties around Philadelphia, to 70-23 percent in the northwest corner of the state.

But Pennsylvania voters oppose – 57 percent to 36 percent – Corbett’s executive order that allows drilling for gas under state parks and forests from adjacent wells.

Thirty-nine percent of registered voters surveyed said Corbett’s order makes it less likely they will vote for him, while 13 percent said it would make them more likely to vote for Corbett – and 46 percent said the executive order would make no difference in their vote for governor.

Quinnipiac University interviewed by telephone 1,308 registered Pennsylvania voters from May 29 to June 2. Results of the poll are subject to a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

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