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Pew: Americans Say Build the Keystone XL

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted March 19, 2014

Independents, Republicans and Democrats want the Keystone XL pipeline built. That’s the bottom line in Pew Research Center’s latest poll. Overall, the pipeline enjoys strong support, with 61 percent in favor while 27 percent are opposed – consistent with previous Pew’s previous Keystone XL poll in September.  

pew_kxl_pollLook more closely, and Pew finds Keystone XL’s support bridges America’s political divide. Pew’s chart to the left shows that 84 percent of Republicans and 61 percent of Independents support the pipeline’s construction. More Democrats favor Keystone XL (49 percent) than oppose it (38 percent). This is what’s called a political “no-brainer.”

Pew delved deeper into the way Democrats view the pipeline. Majorities of men (58-37 percent) and women (43-38 percent) support it, as do majorities of whites (48-38 percent) and blacks (48-39 percent). Opposition to the pipeline is most widespread among highly educated Democrats, liberals and those with high family incomes, Pew said. More:

While Democrats without college degrees support construction by a wide margin (53% to 34%), only about four-in-ten college-graduate Democrats (39%) favor the project and nearly half (47%) oppose it. (Among Democrats in the survey, 28% had a bachelor’s degree or higher.) There are comparable differences among Democrats across income categories. Democrats with annual family incomes of at least $100,000 are the least likely group to support the pipeline: about half (51%) oppose Keystone and 36% support it. Those with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000 are divided, while there is more support than opposition among those with family incomes of less than $50,000.

The Pew finding, consistent with its past polling and Keystone XL surveys of other organizations, shows that rejecting the pipeline would reject a national majority that outnumbers opponents by a nearly 3-to-1 margin.

The fact is a consistent, strong majority of Americans recognize that the Keystone XL would generate employment – more than 42,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs during its construction phase, according to the U.S. State Department – spur economic growth and strengthen U.S. energy security through a closer partnership with Canada, our No. 1 supplier of imported oil. They recognize that delivering more than 800,000 barrels of oil from Canada and the U.S. Bakken region to our Gulf Coast refineries would be integral in a larger strategy that could see 100 percent of our liquid fuel needs met domestically and from Canada by 2024.

The Keystone XL has studied by Washington for more than five years, clearing five environmental reviews along the way. Clearly, the project is in our national interest. The vast majority of Americans agree – and so should the administration.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.