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Friday
Jan202012

New Quinnipiac poll: Ohioans strongly oppose hydro-fracking until more study, split on heartbeat bill

Gus Chan, The Plain DealerWorkers operate a drilling rig owned by Chesapeake Energy in Carroll County. Chesapeake is the first to use hydro-fracking, or fracking, on the Utica Shale in Ohio. A new poll of Ohio voters shows 72 percent think the practice should be stopped until more study of it can be done.

A new poll of Ohioans shows that more than seven in ten want the controversial practice of hydro-fracking stopped until more study of it can be done, according to a Quinnipiac University survey released this morning.

The first statewide poll on hydrofracking--the practice of pumping millions of gallons of chemical-laced water into shale deposits to crack open oil and natural gas deposits far below the earth's crust--shows Ohioans anxious about its impact on the environment. By a margin of 72-23, Ohioans say the practice should be stopped until further study.

"Ohio voters are conflicted on hydro-fracking," said a statement  from Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  "They recognize the economic impact of drilling for fossil fuels in the state, but are worried about potential environmental risks of the specific technique hydro-fracking."

The poll shows Ohioans are convinced that hydro-fracking brings economic development with support by a 64-29 margin that the economic benefits outweigh the environmental risks and 85-11 support for the notion that it will bring jobs to the state.

Meanwhile, Ohioans remain split down the middle over whether they support the so-called "heartbeat" bill which has stalled in the Ohio Senate after passing the Ohio House.

The legislation, which would essentially ban abortions after the heartbeat of a fetus can be detected, is opposed by 46 percent of Ohioans and supported by 45 percent of Ohioans. Republicans and those in lower income groups tend to support the measure while Democrats and those who are more affluent tend to oppose it.

"Abortion remains perhaps the most divisive issue in the nation and there is almost an even split among Ohio voters over the fetal heartbeat bill," said Brown in a statement.

The new poll also shows that U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is in pretty good shape for his November showdown with Republican Josh Mandel.

The Democrat holds a 47-32 edge over Mandel among those surveyed, a finding virtually unchanged since late October when a Quinnipiac survey found him up 49-34. The always critical independent voters favor Brown by a 44-27 margin.

Mandel, a 34-year-old former combat Marine who has quickly rose through the GOP ranks to be elected state treasurer in 2010, remains an unknown to many Ohio voters. The survey shows that 69 percent of Ohio voters haven't heard enough about him to form an opinion.

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