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2022 Pennsylvania Climate and Energy Survey – Muhlenberg College


Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion & Sustainability Studies Program | 2022 Pennsylvania Climate and Energy Survey

This survey from the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion is released in partnership with the Muhlenberg College Sustainability Studies Program.  


 PDF – 2022 Pennsylvania Climate and Energy Survey


KEY FINDINGS

  • Three out of four Pennsylvanians (75%) indicate that there is solid evidence that temperatures on earth have risen over the past four decades, marking the highest level of acceptance of global warming among residents of the state since measurement began in 2007.

  • Perceptions of evidence of global warming are highly varied among Pennsylvanians in terms of their political party affiliation, with 92% of Democrats and 82% of independents indicating there is solid evidence of global warming, but only 45% of Republicans maintaining this opinion.
  • Over half (53%) of Pennsylvanians view global warming as a “very serious problem,” with an additional quarter of Keystone State residents describing global warming as a “somewhat serious problem.”
  • Six out of 10 residents of the Commonwealth indicate that they have seen significant changes in the weather patterns over the last year in the places where they live.
  • Pennsylvanians are highly divided on the extraction of natural gas from shale deposits in the state, with 48% supporting extraction, 44% opposing extraction, and 8% unsure about their standing on this issue.
  • Divisions on the future impacts of drilling for natural gas in the Keystone State are stark, with 44% of state residents reporting that drilling will bring more benefits to the state in the future, compared to 40% who believe more problems will come to Pennsylvania from natural gas drilling. 
  • While divided on the overall impact of natural gas extraction in the state, Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly see drilling for natural gas as important to the state economy, with 86% of state residents indicating that natural gas drilling is either very important (35%) or somewhat important (51%) to Pennsylvania’s economy.
  • Two out of three Commonwealth residents agree that natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania poses a major risk to the state’s water resources.

Methodological Statement

The following report contains the results of a telephone survey of 423 adults in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania between April 15 and May 6, 2022.  Respondents were interviewed in English on both landlines (78) and cell phones (345). With a randomly selected sample of respondents, the margin of error for the surveys is +/- 5.5% at a 95% level of confidence. Margins of error for questions with smaller sample size will be larger. In addition to sampling error, one should consider that question wording and other fielding issues could introduce error or bias into survey results. The sample data has been weighted by gender, race, age, income and educational attainment to reflect those Pennsylvania population characteristics as reported by the United States Census Bureau in 2022. The calculation of sampling error considers design effects due to the weighting identified above. In order to reach a representative sample of adult Pennsylvanians, both landlines and cell phones are called up to 5 times. The response rate for this survey as calculated using the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) RRII formula is approximately 5%. Due to rounding the totals provided in the frequency report may not total 100%. The survey instrument (as seen in its entirety below) was designed by Dr. Christopher P. Borick, Director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion (MCIPO) and Professor in the Muhlenberg College Sustainability Studies Program. The survey was funded exclusively by Muhlenberg College. For more detailed information on the methods employed please contact the MCIPO at 484-664-3444 or email Dr. Borick at christopherborick@muhlenberg.edu.


SURVEY INSTRUMENT AND FREQUENCY

SCREENER:  Thank you.  Just to confirm are you a resident of Pennsylvania who is age 18 or older?

1. Yes…………..…..CONTINUE

2. No………………THANK AND DISCONTINUE

3. Not Sure….……. THANK AND DISCONTINUE

Q1. Next, I would like to ask you a few questions on the issue of global warming.  From what you’ve read and heard. Is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades?

  •  Yes .…………..……………………75%   
  •  No ..…………..……………………20%    (SKIP TO Q5)
  •  Not Sure (Volunteered)…………..   6%    (SKIP TO Q5)

TIME SERIES

2007

2008

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2019

2022

Yes

71%

74%

69%

66%

65%

61%

66%

74%

72%

75%

No

16%

16%

25%

24%

22%

30%

20%

15%

16%

20%

Not Sure

14%

9%

7%

10%

13%

9%

13%

11%

12%

6%

Q2. How confident are you that the average temperature on earth is increasing? Are you very confident, fairly confident, not too confident or not confident at all that the average temperature on earth is increasing?

  • Very confident…..…………………. 63%
  • Fairly confident…..………………….31%
  • Not too confident….………………..  4%
  • Not confident at all…………………   1%
  • Not Sure (Volunteered)…….……..  1%

Q3. Is the earth getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels, or mostly because of natural patterns in the earth’s environment?

  • Human activity……………………….55%
  • Natural patterns………………………19%
  • A combination (Volunteered)……….. 24%
  • Not Sure (Volunteered)……………….. 2%

Q4. What is the primary factor that has caused you to believe that temperatures on earth are increasing? (OPEN ENDED) (FACTORS CODED INTO CATEGORIES)

Factor

Percent

Human Activity

20%

Weather Changes

20%

Scientific Research

19%

Warmer Temperatures Observed

13%

Melting Glaciers/Polar Ice

12%

Media Coverage

5%

Natural Patterns

5%

Ocean Changes

2%

Other

5%

Not sure

<1%

**ALL RESPONDENTS**

Q5. In your view is global warming a very serious problem, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not a problem?

  • Very serious………………..………53%
  • Somewhat serious……………..…24%
  • Not too serious………………..……12%
  • Not a problem…………………..….11%
  • Not Sure (Volunteered)…….……..<1%

Q6. Over the past year have you personally seen any significant changes in weather patterns where you live?

  • Yes……………………………………..60%
  • No…………………………………….. 39% (SKIP TO Q8)
  • Not Sure (Volunteered)…….……..1% (SKIP TO Q8)

Q7. What changes have you seen personally? (OPEN ENDED/CODED INTO CATEGORIES)

Change

Percentage

Hotter Temperatures

16%

Less Snow

16%

Milder Winters

13%

Weather Generally Different

11%

Temperature Fluctuations

10%

More Extreme Weather

9%

Change in Seasons

5%

Colder/More Snow

5%

Increased Rain and Flooding

4%

Tornado Activity

3%

Changes in Flora and Fauna

2%

Drought and Decreased Rainfall

1%

Wildfires

1%

Wind-Related Changes

1%

Miscellaneous Changes

2%

Q8. Next, I’m going to read you a list of actions that the United States may take to address climate change. Which of the actions do you believe is the MOST important action the United States should take? [READ LIST]

  • Promote greenhouse gas reductions to try and limit climate change……….38%
  • Learn to adapt to a warmer world that is the result of climate change……..11%
  • Promote geoengineering and scientific fixes to counter climate change…..26%
  • All equally important (VOLUNTEERED)…………………………………16%
  • None are important (VOLUNTEERED)…………………………………… 8%
  • Not Sure (VOLUNTEERED)……………………………………………….2%

Q9. Now I have a few questions about natural gas. To extract natural gas from shale formations a process known as “hydraulic fracturing” or “fracking” is used.  Would you say that you have heard a lot about this technique, a little about it, or you have never heard about it before?

  • A lot ……………………..44%
  • A little……………………47%
  • Never……………………..10%
  • Not Sure………………….<1%

TIME SERIES

2012

2014

2022

A lot

46%

42%

44%

A little

40%

50%

47%

Never heard

13%

8%

10%

Not Sure

<1%

1%

<1%

Q10. In general, would you say that you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the extraction of natural gas from shale deposits in Pennsylvania?

  • Strongly support …………..19%
  • Somewhat support ………..29%
  • Somewhat oppose…………19%
  • Strongly oppose……………25%
  • Not sure ……………………8%

TIME SERIES

2012

2014

2022

Strongly Support

20%

25%

19%

Somewhat Support

19%

29%

29%

Somewhat Oppose

26%

16%

19%

Strongly Oppose

23%

16%

25%

Not Sure

12%

15%

8%

Q11. What would you say is the most important risk related to fracking in Pennsylvania? (OPEN ENDED/CODED INTO CATEGORIES)

Risk

2012

2022

Water Contamination (General)

33%

26%

Groundwater/Well Contamination

  9%

7%

Public Health and Safety

  9%

6%

Gas Release/Air Quality

  6%

2%

Environmental Damage (General)

  6%

14%

No Risk or Minimal Risk

  4%

5%

General Risk

  2%

1%

Pollution/Chemicals

  3%

8%

Earthquakes

  1%

3%

Sink Holes

  1%

6%

The Risks from Not Fracking

  1%

1%

Other

  7%

9%

Don’t Know/Not Sure

18%

13%

Q12. And in your opinion, which of the following would you say is the primary potential benefit of fracking in the United States? Is it

  • Fracking reduces carbon emissions by increasing the supply of cleaner-burning natural gas…..11%
  • Fracking promotes energy independence by increasing the supply of fossil fuels extracted in the United States…………………………………………………………..….……28%
  • Fracking provides an economic benefit by stimulating investments and creating jobs…………22%
  • Fracking increases the amount of tax revenue collected by governments thereby helping to reduce government debt……………………………………………………………………………………5%
  • Fracking reduces energy costs for consumers and industries……………………….……………12%
  • There are no potential benefits from fracking (Volunteered)………………………….…………18%
  • Not sure (Volunteered)………………………………………………………………………………5%

Q13. Now please tell me which of the following statements comes closest to your views:

  • Most experts agree that the risks associated with hydraulic fracking in Pennsylvania are HIGH…25%
  • Most experts agree that the risks associated with hydraulic fracking in Pennsylvania are LOW….14%
  • Most experts are divided on whether hydraulic fracking poses any risk………………………….. 56%
  • Don’t know (volunteered)………………………………………………………………………….. 5%

TIME SERIES

2014

2022

Most experts agree that the risks associated with hydraulic fracking in your state are HIGH

17%

25%

Most experts agree that the risks associated with hydraulic fracking in your state are LOW

19%

14%

Most experts are divided on whether hydraulic fracking poses any risk

53%

56%

Not Sure

11%

5%

Q14. In general, do you feel that drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania WILL provide more benefits or more problems in the FUTURE for the citizens of Pennsylvania?

  • More benefits…………………..44%
  • More problems…………………40%
  • About equal (VOL)…………….14%
  • Not sure (Vol)……………………2%

TIME SERIES

2011

 2012

2022

More Benefits

50%

54%

44%

More Problems

32%

30%

40%

About Equal/Not Sure

17%

16%

16%

Q15. When it comes to regulating where drilling sites can be located, which level of government do you think should have the primary control, if any? Do you think the federal government, state government, or local government should have primary control for regulating where drilling sites can be located, or should this decision be made solely by private landowners without any government influence?

  • Federal………………………….17%
  • State…………………………….31%
  • Local……………………………25%
  • Private decision…………………26%
  • Not sure (Vol)………………….. 2%

TIME SERIES

2014

2022

Federal

7%

17%

State

28%

31%

Local

31%

25%

Private Decision

27%

26%

Not Sure

8%

2%

Q16. How important would you say that natural gas drilling is to the overall condition of the Pennsylvania economy. Would you say that natural gas drilling is very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important to the Pennsylvania economy?

  • Very important…………….35%
  • Somewhat important………51%
  • Not very important…………10%
  • Not important at all…………5%
  • Not sure (Vol)………………<1%

TIME SERIES

2014

2022

Very Important

38%

35%

Somewhat Important

44%

51%

Not Very Important

8%

10%

Not Important at All

4%

 5%

Not Sure

6%

<1%

(QUESTIONS Q17 THROUGH Q19 WERE ROTATED)

Now I would like to read you a list of statements regarding natural gas and fracking. For each statement that I read please indicate if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with these statements. First….

Q 17. Natural gas reserves under Pennsylvania are a public resource and should benefit all citizens of the state.

  • Strongly agree………..47%
  • Somewhat agree…….. 37%
  • Somewhat disagree…. 10%
  • Strongly disagree……. 6%
  • Not sure (Vol)………. 1%

TIME SERIES

2011

2012

2014

2022

Strongly Agree

54%

50%

52%

47%

Somewhat Agree

27%

30%

27%

37%

Somewhat Disagree

9%

7%

10%

10%

Strongly Disagree

8%

7%

5%

6%

Not Sure

3%

7%

5%

1%

Q18. Natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania poses a major risk to the state’s water resources.

  • Strongly agree…………..36%
  • Somewhat agree……….. 31%
  • Somewhat disagree……. 15%
  • Strongly disagree……… 16%
  • Not sure (Vol)…………. 2%

TIME SERIES

2011

2012

2014

2022

Strongly Agree

33%

35%

35%

36%

Somewhat Agree

27%

24%

27%

31%

Somewhat Disagree

13%

17%

14%

15%

Strongly Disagree

15%

17%

13%

16%

Not Sure

12%

 8%

11%

  2%

Q19. Increasing taxes on natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania will lead drilling firms to leave and so should be avoided.

  • Strongly agree……………..22%
  • Somewhat agree……………26%
  • Somewhat disagree………..27%
  • Strongly disagree………….22%
  • Not sure (Vol)…………….. 3%

TIME SERIES

2011

2012

2014

2022

Strongly Agree

11%

16%

11%

22%

Somewhat Agree

22%

16%

20%

26%

Somewhat Disagree

23%

30%

23%

27%

Strongly Disagree

28%

34%

34%

22%

Not Sure

16%

4%

12%

  3%

Q20. Finally, a few questions about yourself. Which of the following categories best describes your racial identity? Are you… [READ LIST]

  • White/Caucasian…………… 75%
  • African American……….….10%
  • Hispanic/Latino.……………  7%
  • Asian………….……………..  3%
  • Native American…………….  2%
  • Mixed race..……………..….  2%
  • Not Sure…………………….  1%

Q21. Which of the following categories best describes your religious affiliation? Are you… [READ LIST]

  • Protestant………………………………………..32%
  • Catholic…………………………………….…..27%
  • Jewish..…………………………………………  2%
  • Muslim .……………………………………..…  1%
  • Hindu………….………………………………..<1%
  • Other religion (including agnostic)………………29%
  • Atheist..…………………………………….….    7%
  • Not Sure (Volunteered)…………………………    1%

Q22. What is your highest level of education? [READ LIST]

  • Less than High School Graduate……………………2%
  • High School Graduate……………………………….32%
  • Some college or technical school……………26%
  • College graduate……………………………………..27%
  • Graduate or professional degree…………….13%
  • Not Sure……………………………………………….1%

 Q23. Which of the following best describes your political party affiliation?  [READ LIST]

  • Democrat……………….…. 35%
  • Republican………….………30%
  • Other party..……………..… .6%
  • Independent .………….……28%
  • Not Sure (Volunteered)…….1%

Q24. Which of the following best describes your political beliefs?  [READ LIST]

  • Very Conservative……………………………………….. 11%
  • Somewhat Conservative……………………………….. 24%
  • Moderate…………………………………………………….. 37%
  • Somewhat Liberal………………………………………… 19%
  • Very Liberal…………………………………………………   9%
  • Not sure (Volunteered)…………………………………. 1%

Q25: In which of the following age categories does your current age fall.  READ LIST

  • 18-29………..22%
  • 30-49………. 33%
  • 50-65………..25%
  • Or Over 65….20%

Q26. Which of the following categories best describes your family income? Is it… [READ LIST]

  • Less than 20,000………………….11%
  • 20,000-40,000………………….……20%
  • 40,000-60,000……………….……16%
  • 60,000-80,000………………….……19%
  • 80,000-100,000…………….…….10%
  • Over 100,000………………….… 23%
  • Not Sure (Volunteered) ……..….   1%

Q27. What is the zip code of your current residence?

(Response) ___________

Q28. Finally, to which gender identity do you most identify? (READ LIST)

  • Male………………………………………………. 49%
  • Female………………………………………….. 51%
  • Transgender Male………………………..<1%
  • Transgender Female……………………….0%
  • Or you do not identify as male or female …..<1%

SELECTED CROSSTABS

From what you’ve read and heard. Is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades?

Yes

No

Not Sure

Overall

75%

20%

6%

Democrat

92%

6%

2%

Republican

45%

44%

10%

Independent

82%

14%

4%

In your view is global warming a very serious problem, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not a problem?

Very Serious

Somewhat Serious

Not Too Serious

Not a Problem

Not Sure

Overall

53%

24%

12%

11%

<1%

Democrat

72%

21%

5%

2%

0%

Republican

26%

27%

21%

26%

0%

Independent

56%

21%

12%

11%

1%

In general, do you feel that drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania will provide more benefits or more problems in the future for the citizens of Pennsylvania?

More Benefits

More Problems

About Equal

Not Sure

Overall

44%

40%

14%

2%

Democrat

28%

52%

16%

4%

Republican

67%

21%

12%

0%

Independent

39%

49%

12%

<1%

Level of agreement with the statement, “Natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania poses a major risk to its the state’s water resources.

Strongly Agree

Somewhat Agree

Somewhat Disagree

Strongly Disagree

Not Sure

Overall

37%

29%

16%

16%

2%

Democrat

50%

29%

14%

6%

1%

Republican

16%

36%

17%

30%

2%

Independent

46%

23%

13%

16%

2%

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