Opposition to shale gas has overtaken support for the first time in an ongoing government study of public attitudes.
The latest research in the Tracker survey, published today, found 27% of those questioned opposed shale gas, compared with 26% who supported.
The survey, commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, has been asking the same question about attitudes to shale gas every three months since December last year.
In the first survey, 27% supported shale gas and 21% opposed. In March this year, support rose to 29%, compared with 22% who opposed. In June this year support and opposition was equal at 24%. People who neither support nor oppose shale gas has varied between 48% and 44% and in the latest survey stood at 45%. Since December last year awareness of shale gas has risen from 52% to the current high of 76%.
The survey questioned 2,103 people in face-to-face interviews conducted with a representative sample of UK adults aged 16 and over. The fieldwork was done from September 24-28th.