Poll: Majority say build Keystone pipeline
Protest against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in front of the White House on August 30, 2011.
March 22nd, 2012
10:13 AM ET
3 years ago

Poll: Majority say build Keystone pipeline

Washington (CNN) - A majority of Americans, including a plurality of Democrats, think the government should approve the building of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, according to a new national survey.

A Gallup poll released Thursday indicates 57% of the public says the Obama administration should give the go ahead for the pipeline's construction, with 29% disagreeing and 14% unsure.

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The survey's release comes as President Barack Obama brings his energy tour to a pipeline facility in Cushing, Oklahoma Thursday morning to announce he wants to speed up work on the southern end of the Keystone oil pipeline. The president still does not support work on the northern end that enters the U.S. from Canada.

Republicans have persisted in attacking Obama for his administration's January decision to reject an initial proposal for the northern segment of the pipeline that would have transported oil from Canada's oil sands south to the Gulf of Mexico. The decision followed months of protests by environmentalists who object to the considerable carbon emissions released when producing oil from oil sand.

More than eight in ten Republicans questioned in the poll give a thumbs up to building the pipeline, as do independent voters by a 51% to 35% margin. By a 44% to 38% margin, Democrats agree.

The survey indicates a geographical divide, with 68% of people in the South and 61% of people in the Midwest saying the pipeline should be built. That number drops to 52% in the West and 48% in the East.

The Gallup poll was conducted between March 8 and March 11, with 1,024 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

– CNN's Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Polls • President Obama
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The republicans appear to have adopted the Bush doctrine on our environment, with a pipeline that congressional republicans refuse to allow the oil being used only in America.

    March 22, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    RickM – Republicans would then call the president a socialist for controlling the price of oil. Only Mittens could get away with that.

    March 22, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. Obama's Snake Oil on Sale - Git yur lies and deceit here!!

    >Duane Dinga
    I> say we don't need to build it!! Has anyone seem to know about the environmental risk it would have on our country. >such as the Ogallala Aquafier. Our largest fresh water supply would be at risk. We can use alternatives to oil such as >Bio fuels,Eco-friendly cars, Hybrids, and Electric running vehicles. We're too addictive to oil like crack!!

    YES! my man!! You are sooo right and don't forget about the algae you can put in your tank cuz I hear algae is the answer to our problems. And you can always inflate your tires and get a tune up too as I hear they are good as well. Please post your address and I'll will send you a compimentary bottle of my newest batch of snake oil. I has got to keep people like you all oiled up and thinkin' like me.

    March 22, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Wake up people

    As soon as there is a problem, whether it be short term jobs, price of gas increases or an oil spill, those same people that were pressing for this pipeline will blame the President. I don't think this is a good move, I wish he would have held his ground on this one. The American public really needs to educate themselves. Didn't anyone learn with the Gulf disaster or the spill we had in Michigan? How could ANY middle class person even considered consider being a rethuglican? Come on people, stop looking at skin color. Our President is the best I have seen in my lifetime, he cares for everyone and doesn't want to see the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. Get over people the south lost the civil war almost 150 years ago.

    OBAMA 2012!
    Ban the confederate flag!

    March 22, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. ALPHA

    Mr. Obama may might maybe would change his mind now. He bases a lot of his decisions on public polling data.

    On the other hand, that would be good for America, Obama could not tolerate that. That would allow people to have jobs, and become harder for he and his cronies to "manage" the masses. Nope he won't allow that individualism. That doesn't fit his big government, socialist-like narrative.

    March 22, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  6. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Artis Brown(guy in ExxonMobil ads) hasn't convinced me nor nebraskans how they can do this project safely.

    March 22, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. BLKMANinAmerica

    WOW..........................interesting, the only reason my President DELAYED his decision on this project was because of the repuks attempting to "ram-it-thru" which was a problem for President Obama and truly I can't blame him. Give him the time he needs to make an intellegent decision (unlike the repuks) some people in government actually want to us their MIND.

    March 22, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. Cfrench

    It's always amazing how easily the uneducated swallow talking points hook, line and sinker. Oil production has increased in this country and abroad over the past couple of decades yet gas prices continue to climb. Read the AP report and examine the evidence before dismissing it as "mainstream media" lies. Additionally, let's suppose the pipeline is constructed. So what. The oil that is eventually refined from it will be sold on the world market with the majority exported out of this country. The democrats tried to pass a bill requiring that ALL oil that passes through the pipeline to stay here in the US, but unfortunately the republicans did not like that so they killed the bill.

    March 22, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Snake Oil wrote:

    YES! my man!! You are sooo right and don't forget about the algae you can put in your tank cuz I hear algae is the answer to our problems. And you can always inflate your tires and get a tune up too as I hear they are good as well.....
    -------------
    How come conservatives were in favor of alternative sources of energy like solar, wind, and biofuels when Sarah Palin was promoting them on the campaign trail in 2008?

    March 22, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. Oh so greedy republicans

    More drilling is not the answer. Check the revenue the Oil barons receive from their high prices.

    March 22, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Jerry

    Only our clueless president does not agree with the majority of the American people who mostly support the construction of the XL pipeline.

    Does his stand really surprise anyone?! Don't worry, though. Give him a month or so and he will flip-flop. After all, he's running scared about his reelection prospects. And, reelection is his biggest concern at the moment. The economy, oil prices, etc. etc., etc., are in his back burner.

    March 22, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. george of the jungle

    The president said more study needed to be done on the northeren pipe line. He never was against the southern portion. If anyone cares to check. Jobs will be minimul either way. Repos as usual are making a big deal out of this, This is not going to now or ever help with gas prices. Check your info.

    March 22, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Frank - Ohio

    Start building the pipeline now, Mr President. Stop playing politics.

    March 22, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. rob

    Will the oil that will flow in this pipe be used in this country? If it's just going down to the ports and then sold elsewhere then I'm not for the possible risks to our land that it imposes.

    March 22, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  15. Len

    Again, another example of the uninformed voter in this country. Do not know all the facts and really do not care. Only listen to Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Really do not care about possibly harming a much needed water source for atleast 4 midwestern states, including the GOP state of Nebraska. The GOP governor wants more information on the environmental impact of the pipeline. Get all the facts folks before you throw darts at our president. Let us not forget the GOP calling card: We must not burden our children and grandchildren and future generations. I think the President has that in his mind.

    March 22, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Terry

    The main problem I have with the KXL is that it will give oil companies access to the world markets they so crave, and take this "oil" out of our reach. That's fine. They want world market access so badly, how about forcing the Canadian government to approve a pipeline west to export? Well, the Canadian and BC governments won't allow it due to enviornmental concerns. In the meantime, another US refinery will soon close, so supply will be tightened further. Here's a solution: Get the Hyperion refinery in Elk Point, SD built and operational and then build a pipeline from the Baaken formation and another from the shale feilds of UT/CO there. US oil produced and refined and used in the US. Sounds like a politician's dream. A politician NOT in debt to the oil industry, that is....

    March 22, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. WAIT A MINUTE

    how would building a pipeline help AMERICA get rid of CROOKED POLITITIANS!

    March 22, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. Pam from Iowa

    Of course you will get a majority for it when you only poll Republicans and oil company execs!!!
    The GOP is out there exaggerating benefits such as new jobs from this.
    Informed American citizens want a separate study done on the enviromental impact.
    FYI FOLKS- THIS PIPELINE WILL NOT LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT NOR WILL IT LOWER THE PRICE OF GASOLINE!!!!!!!!!!

    March 22, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. Professor

    "A Gallup poll released Thursday indicates 57% of the public says the Obama administration should give the go ahead for the pipeline's construction..." What do you want to bet that the 57% who want that go-ahead haven't a CLUE that the oil is destined for EXPORT instead of for use in the U.S.? So these would be the "Low Information Voters", right?
    Not sure what that means? Go here: http://www.the-office.com/lowinfo.htm

    March 22, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. Four and The Door

    Rudy NYC
    ...Who cares what the exact dollar figure is that the oil industry pays. That dollar amount is misleading irrelevance designed to impress the shallow minded. If I'm paying 28%, then they need to pay 28%, too.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________
    My point is that this industry is a huge and integral part of our national economy. And for taxes, I'm talking about business taxes. The business taxes from the petroleum industry are important to support our federal and state governments. The more profitable they are the more they pay. That's good for all of us. Making decisions that benefit this industry are good for all of us.

    March 22, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. Fair is Fair

    And now we hear Obama is going to "jump start" the construction of "half" of the pipeline. "Half". What good is "half" a pipeline? About as useless as mammaries on a bull. The man is totally clueless.

    March 22, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Terry observed on page 2:

    The main problem I have with the KXL is that it will give oil companies access to the world markets they so crave, and take this "oil" out of our reach. That's fine. They want world market access so badly, how about forcing the Canadian government to approve a pipeline west to export?
    ----------------------
    Correct. The pipeline would allow the resource to have easier, lower cost access to the world's markets. But, Oil "companies" would not benefit as much as a single oil "company" would. There is no pipeline to the west coast because the objective is to get it to the Atlantic Ocean.

    The new generation of super tankers cannot fit throught the Panama Canal, at least not until they finish their upgrades years from now. Super tankers from the Atlantic must currently sail around South America to reach these resources. It means those resources are currently sold at a discount to compensate for higher transportation costs. For us in the US that is a good thing. We buy a lot and we buy it "cheaply." The pipeline would remove pressure to discount the prices. That means our price will go up significantly.

    March 22, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Pam from Iowa

    Who wouldn't want Exxon to post another record-breaking profit?
    Let's get this pipeline in and maybe then Exxon can have a trillion-dollar quarterly profit instead of those meager billion-dollar quarterly profits!!!

    March 22, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Four wrote:

    The more profitable they are the more they pay. That's good for all of us. Making decisions that benefit this industry are good for all of us.
    -----------
    Snap out of it, Four. That makes no sense at all. Republicans would simply cut their taxes. Considering the fact that the oil companies have made record profits for each of the past 3 years, what benefit has it brought us.

    Nothing but a big oil leak in the Gulf that they do not want to take responsibility for. They want taxpayers to pick up the tab, despite their record profits. Your words are pretty, but they hold water and stand up to scrutiny. Your own past arguments debunk them.

    March 22, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Four and The Door

    Rudy NYC
    ... Making decisions that benefit this industry are good for all of us.
    ---–
    Snap out of it, Four. That makes no sense at all. Republicans would simply cut their taxes. Considering the fact that the oil companies have made record profits for each of the past 3 years, what benefit has it brought us.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    How about $46 billion to support our federal government? These are tax dollars. Real money that helps pay all of those great things in the federal spending budget. We need more profitable American industries like this.

    March 22, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
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