Louisiana residents’ opinion of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, may be affected by the short version’s harsh consonants and similarity to another four-letter word, according to a survey by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab.
The lab surveyed 731 people. Half were asked questions containing fracking. Half were asked questions that substituted a description for fracking but not the word.
Of those who heard “fracking,” 35 percent thought the process is somewhat or very safe and 39 percent think the state should encourage the process.
Meanwhile, 43 percent of those whose questions didn’t include fracking think the process is somewhat or very safe and 52 percent think the state should encourage the process.
“Public aversion to the term likely results from the harsh consonants and perhaps the obvious similarity to a certain other four letter word,” lab Operations Manager Michael Climek said in a news release. “And this research shows that the unpleasant sound of the word is at least partially responsible for residents thinking ‘fracking’ is unsafe and that it should not be pursued by the state of Louisiana. If businesses and legislators use another word or description, constituents may be more willing to support hydraulic fracturing.”
The survey had a margin of error of 3.6 percent.