Friday, March 27, 2015

Fracking Still a Problem for Democrats

Americans are divided over hydraulic fracturing. The latest Gallup poll shows 40 percent favor the process and 40 percent oppose it. The parties are polarized, with 66 percent of Republicans supporting it but only 26 percent of Democrats. More than half of Democrats oppose it (54%), but only 20 percent of Republicans.

The problem for Democrats is that their leadership does not agree with the rank and file. They favor it. The most dramatic example of the disconnect was last summer and fall when Colorado Democratic leaders, led by Governor Hickenlooper, strongly opposed ballot initiatives seen as fracking bans.

Very likely if one or more anti-fracking initiatives were proposed in 2016, Democratic leaders would again oppose them. They are currently attempting to design compromises that will address the issues of many opponents. But, given the public division and extreme anti-hydrocarbon advocacy groups in- and out-of-state, it seems unlikely a compromise is possible or a ballot issue can be avoided.

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