The results of a new opinion poll, dubbed "Bean Poll" because opinions were expressed by placing dried beans in jars, seem to show a majority of Ohio Valley residents feel considerable concern about the risks of hydrofracturing ("fracking") and injection well disposal of fracking waste. Another poll sampled attitudes toward U.S. budget deficits. Beyond checking the pulse of area citizens, the purposes of these opinion polls are to stimulate thinking and discussion about the environment and peace and justice, and to promote awareness about issues that contributes to intelligent voting and good citizenship.
The two "Bean Polls" were conducted at the MultiCultural Festival on June 29 by Ohio Valley PEACE, with about 50 people participating. While festival visitors were invited randomly to participate, those doing so volunteered. The results of these informal polls do give an indication of the sentiment of folks in this area, though a scientifically designed poll might give more accurate numbers.
Both opinion polls consisted of six questions, each attached to a pair of Mason jars. Participants chose a response to the question by dropping a bean in one of the jars.
The "Shale Gas" questions, with the response percentages, are:
1. Do fracking waste injection wells pose a serious environmental risk? (98 percent yes, 2 percent no).
2. Is it common for companies to use "forced pooling" to extract gas from property not voluntarily leased? (91 percent yes, 9 percent no).
3. Are doctors prevented from knowing what sickens people near well sites? (76 percent yes, 24 percent no).
4. Should fracking wastes be handled on or near the Ohio River? (2 percent yes, 98 percent no).
5. Is contamination of drinking water from shale drilling a serious problem? (100 percent yes, 0 percent no).
6. Is it correct that fracking a horizontal shale well uses over 4 million gallons of water? (91 percent yes, 9 percent no).
A second "Bean Poll" was conducted at the Ohio Valley PEACE booth at the recent MultiCultural Festival. Named "The Budget Deficit?," the poll asks six questions. The questions with the response percentages are:
1. In order to help balance the budget should taxes be raised on billionaires? (81 percent yes, 19 percent no).
2. Should Social Security be privatized in the stock market? (9 percent yes, 91 percent no).
3. To help balance the budget, should spending on wars be reduced? (84 percent yes, 16 percent no).
4. Should the age to collect social security be raised to 68? (6 percent yes, 94 percent no).
5. Should the government pay back the $2.4 trillion owed to the Social Security trust fund? (94 percent yes, 6 percent no).
6. Is it right to borrow from the Social Security trust fund to justify tax cuts for the rich and then threaten not to pay it back? (2 percent yes, 98 percent no).