Poll: 72% of Americans Believe Natural Gas Creates Jobs

Barbara Boland
By Barbara Boland | May 1, 2014 | 3:22 PM EDT

With the Senate set to vote on a bill that would begin immediate construction on the Keystone XL pipeline, a new poll finds Americans overwhelmingly believe domestic natural gas production brings major benefits to our economy and that the Federal government should support domestic natural gas and oil production. According to a new University of Texas Energy Poll, 72% say natural gas development creates jobs, 66% say it lowers costs, and 64% say it provides energy security.

A plurality (42%) support fracking; with 84% saying that the government should focus on developing natural gas. This finding is at odds with the Obama administration's continued delays on the Keystone XL pipeline.

While the Keystone pipeline won't be transporting natural gas, it will have an on ramp in Montana for crude oil from the bakken shale, which is obtained via fracking.

The 72% of Americans polled that say natural gas creates jobs are right, at least according to a recent study by IHS CERA. This study found that "the unconventional oil and gas revolution" will boost job growth to the tune of 3.3 million jobs by 2020, adding nearly half a trillion dollars to the U.S. GDP.

The oil and natural gas industry also pay the highest effective tax rate: 44.6% as reported. It follows, then, that boosting the amount of natural gas production would also boost Federal coffers.

The poll also found that 65% of Americans say the Federal government should focus on developing oil.

This news should bolster Senate efforts to thwart President Obama's indefinite delay on the Keystone Xl pipeline. Legislation introduced by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) would authorize the pipeline's immediate construction.

The Senate announced today that the bill has the support of 56 Senators - 45 Republicans and 11 Democrats. They will need 60 votes to force cloture and pass the bill.