Poll: Democrats Divided Over Keystone Pipeline

Thursday, 20 Mar 2014 11:18 AM

By Melanie Batley

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A majority of the public favors building the Keystone XL pipeline but Democrats are divided about whether they support the project, a new poll has found.

According to a Pew Research Center poll conducted Feb. 27 to March 16, 61 percent of Americans believe the project should go forward, compared to 27 percent who are opposed.

Among Democrats, 49 percent support of the pipeline's construction while 38 percent remain opposed.

"As the Obama administration deliberates over whether to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built, the proposed pipeline continues to draw broad support from the public," Pew said in a statement about its poll. According to Pew, 84 percent of Republicans and 61 percent among independents favor the pipeline.

The survey of 3,335 adults also gave a detailed breakdown of differences among Democrats on the issue.

Opposition is greatest among highly educated and high income Democrats as well as liberals. By comparison, Democrats without college degrees support construction by a wide margin at 53 percent compared to 34 percent.

"As Pew Research polls last year found, moderate and conservative Democrats continue to be far more likely than liberals to favor building the pipeline" at 56 percent to 40 percent, Pew said in its statement.

There are also differences of opinion among Republicans over the pipeline but large majorities across all demographic groups favor its construction, and there are no significant differences by education level or income, the poll found.

Opposition to the Keystone pipeline tends to be driven by concerns that it doesn't use clean energy and will negatively affect climate change. There have also been concerns about the risk of oil spills.

Many supporters tout jobs and the development of a domestic source of energy. Republican lawmakers have pointed to studies showing that the project would have a minimal impact on climate change.

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