Little support for natural gas exports, UT poll finds

A poll conducted for the University of Texas found the American public generally supports increased domestic energy production but is sharply divided about the use of hydraulic fracturing and exporting liquefied natural gas.

The UT Energy Poll is a periodic sampling of consumer attitudes on key energy attitudes. The latest installment was an online nationwide survey, conducted March 11–20, and was released Tuesday.

It found that 28 percent of people agreed with the statement, “The U.S. should export natural gas to other countries,” while 39 percent disagreed. Another 33 percent said they were neutral.

Men were more likely to support exports of natural gas, at 33 percent, while only 22 percent of women agreed.

Support was somewhat higher among younger people, as well as those who described themselves as “active environmentalists.”

But there was virtually no difference between Democrats and Republicans.

There was a partisan split on support for hydraulic fracturing.

Overall, 45 percent of respondents who said they were familiar with hydraulic fracturing said they supported its use for extracting fossil fuels, down from 48 percent a year ago; 41 percent said they opposed the practice.

However, of this group, 22 percent of Democrats support hydraulic fracturing, while 71 percent of Republicans do.

“More consumers — 43 percent today versus 38 percent a year ago — say there should be more regulation of hydraulic fracturing,” Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of the UT Energy Poll, said in a statement. “Still, we also see steady support for the expansion of domestic natural gas development.”