14 Sep 2011

Public Opinion in Moncton and Saint John Mixed on Shale Gas Exploration

MONCTON: New Brunswickers in Saint John and Moncton are divided with respect to shale gas exploration in the province, however there is greater support than opposition for the idea in principle, according to a recent survey conducted by Corporate Research Associates Inc.

In Saint John, nearly one-half (48%) either completely or mostly support the exploration of shale gas in New Brunswick, compared to one-third (33%) who either completely or mostly oppose it. Results in Moncton indicate 41 percent of the population supports the idea, compared with 36 percent who oppose it. In both markets, a significant segment of approximately 20 percent are undecided.

“While those groups opposing shale gas exploration have of late been very active and vocal, these results provide an indication that New Brunswickers – at least those in two of the largest centres – are still very much divided on the issue”, says CRA President Don Mills. 

The debate around ‘hydro-fracking’ – the method for extracting the natural gas deposits – does impact residents’ opinion on the issue. “Overall opposition to shale gas exploration increases and support decreases when the issue of hydro-fracking is introduced” notes Mills, “but the percent who are unsure also increases, indicating the very complex nature of this issue.” When asked whether they support of oppose shale gas exploration based on what they know or have heard about hydro-fracking, opposition grows to 45 percent in Saint John compared with 27 percent who support, and 41 percent in Moncton compared with 29 percent who support in that market. In each city nearly 30 percent indicate they are undecided.
An increase in direct and indirect jobs is mentioned most often as the primary economic benefit resulting from shale gas exploration, cited by 50 percent of those in Saint John and over 30 percent of those in Moncton. Environmental impacts are also recognized, however, as 22 percent of Saint John residents and 36 percent of Monctonians note well water pollution as their number one environmental concern with further development. 

These results are from CRA’s Urban Report, an independent survey of New Brunswickers in Saint John and Moncton, and are based on a sample of 300 adults in each market. The surveys were conducted between August 25 and September 3, 2011, with overall results in each market accurate to within +5.7 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.  
For more information, please contact: Don Mills, President and CEO at (902) 493-3838.

Ce communiqué de presse est également offert en français.

View full media release here.