Bean Poll reveals area folks views on natural gas fracking and peace issues

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). Another poll sampled attitudes toward federal spending for military campaigns. 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 Barnesville Pumpkin Festival on September 28 - 30 by Ohio Valley PEACE with about 110 people participating. Similar Bean Polls were conducted at the Pumpkin Festival in the previous nine years. 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 Fracking questions, with the response percentages, are:

1. Does Ohio have adequate regulations for the disposal of fracking waste? (17% yes, 83% no)

2. Is there a danger from radioactivity in fracking waste? (68% yes, 32% no)

3. Are first responders and communities at risk from fracking wastes? (80% yes, 20% no)

4. Should fracking wastes be used for dust control on Ohio roads? (23% yes, 77% no)

5. Should the gas industry do seismic testing on your land without your permission? (16% yes, 84% no)

6. Does Ohio have adequate laws to protect landowners who dont want to lease their gas rights? (27% yes, 73% no)

A second Bean Poll was conducted at the Ohio Valley PEACE booth at the recent Pumpkin Festival. Named Budget & Security, the poll asks six questions. The questions with the response percentages are:

1. Should the Bush tax cuts be allowed to expire on income over $250,000 per year and return to the 1990s rate? (25% yes, 75% no)

2. Should capital gains income continue to be taxed at only 15%, less than half the top rate for ordinary income? (25% yes, 75% no)

3. The U.S. spends almost as much on our military as all other countries combined. Is this a wise use of our resources? (27% yes, 73% no)

4. The U.S. has somewhere between 700 and 1,100 military bases in approximately 150 countries. Is this a wise use of our resources? (21% yes, 79% no)

5. Between 545 and 1,104 civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes. Is the drone war making us safer or less safe? (28% safer, 72% less safe)

6. Are our overseas bases, wars and drone killings making us more friends or enemies? (8% friends, 92% enemies)