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
10 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. Enough is Enough

    Obama finally made the right decision but for the wrong reason votes.

    March 22, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Four and The Door

    The decision followed months of protests by environmentalists who object to the considerable carbon emissions released when producing oil from oil sand.
    But it is good to see the majority of Americans understand that the pipeline is really one of the few easy yes decisions that addresses at once several key issues. The concerns of environmentalists should really support doing the refining here in the US instead of shipping the material to China where refining is not subject to the standards American producers follow. That was the alternative.

    March 22, 2012 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    While big oil has made record profits with price gouging, people must think that ExxonMobil needs even more money.

    March 22, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. diridi

    I think we need to push more Alternate Energy and Fuel-Efficiency. Because Environment is more important because the way weather is changing, is not good for Globe, nor people. Did you ever see blooming in Mid-February? Did you ever see 80F degrees in NC in March second Week? In Eastern Word, look at the temperatures on your Ipad. You surprise. we do not need to build Extra Homes, Big Homes, etc, to save our wood, forestry. Yes, we need to stop at some point. All I ask is to Save environment, Forestry, and Wildlife. Please. Please. Save future Generations. God bless.

    March 22, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. Don

    Bunch of freaks out front of the White House and the biggest one is holding the sign in the middle. How much you want to bet everyone of these hypocrites arrived at the protest in a car and I bet they didn't even car-pool.

    March 22, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    As usual, Obama doesn't care what is good for the country and many unemployed people. Everything he does is politically motivated and this is one glaring example. His radical anti-fossil-fuel philosophy must take precedent over the country's need for fuel and jobs. Menawhile he wastes BILLIONS of taxpayers money on "green energy" companies that are simply not viable.

    Obama is a DISASTER for this country on the energy policy front. We'll be paying dearly years down the road for oil drilling he stopped over the last 3 years. Yet another Obama/Democrat IED in the road to blow up on the people in office at the time.

    March 22, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  7. 2607

    poll those people living close to pipeline.....

    March 22, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    All that I can say is that Republicans have won the messaging battle on this issue. So far it has been an instant replay of the Alaska Pipeline. Prices go up when it looks like it might be rejected, and come down when it looks like it might get approved. Prices go up as companies cite the temporary added cost of construction, while keeping prices where they were when done citing inflation. Prices go up as the pipeline is put into service because the resources no longer need to be sold at a discount because of addd transportation costs.

    Above all, profits go up with construction, completion and production of the pipeline. Just watch. You'll see.

    March 22, 2012 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. DIANA

    Are they serious. I really hope the American public isn't as stupid as this is making them out to be. Didn't these people learn anything from BP? It's not going to create any real long term jobs. The oil isn't for our use. What happens when something happens and it contaminates water supplies of countless of people. I don't live anywhere near the proposed pipeline and I think it's a stupid idea that won't help our country in any way.

    March 22, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Larry L

    The same people who reject the overwhelming science behind man's influence on global climate change also believe the earth to be less than 6000 years old. These same folks also like to rant about the immorality of creating a huge financial deficit for our grandchildren to suffer. Yet we face a high probability that global climate change will create a world of disease, wide-spread starvation and world-wide poverty. How moral is it for us to leave them that burden?

    This pipeline creates a relative few jobs, produces a very low-grade fuel, and would operate with considerable risk to our environment. The oil produced would go on the world market and have no impact on US gas prices – sold to the highest bidder. The real winners would be the fat-cats in the oil business who have been spending millions to sway America's viewpoint on the pipeline. They want to pipe the dirty oil across America's heartland and refine it in Texas – because Canada won't put it's own pristine lands at risk. They want to refine it in Texas because we're willing to do anything to support the oil moguls who run the state and own all of the politicians – especially Governor Perry.

    March 22, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. Save the Rich, Vote GOP

    Just and FYI – the keystone pipeline with raise gas prices in the Midwest and fail to relieve any of the prices in the rest of the country. I know republicans hate facts but I'll try to simplify it. I make widgets and hire a kid to deliver my widgets by bike. He can deliver to a ten block radius. I have a glut of supply and a limited market so I sell them for $1. I really wish I could sell them to the neighboring city because they need widgets and would pay $5. I hire a teenager with a car who can deliver to the neighboring city. Do you think I keep my prices at $1?

    If you don't understand this, please don't vote.

    March 22, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Marie MD

    I wonder what a difference this pipeline would be if instead of the white Canadians to our North if were the brown Mexicans to our South getting rich by putting a pipeline through our heartland and completely ignoring the dangers to our country.
    Canada is going to save millions of dollars by not shipping it's oil and its going to be sold in the open world market. I would ask that we get some oil if they are going to trespass and possibly create another deep Horizon spill on our land by doing this then the oil should be for us then the rest of the world but it's not going to happen that way.

    March 22, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |

    Those poor people of Nebraska are going to have tainted water. Go right ahead and poison Nebraskans.

    March 22, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  14. dashabq

    Do my fellow Americans not realize that the Canadian oil going through the pipeline may not stay in our country. Once the oil is refined it will enter the world market and be sold to the highest bidder. If we're going to take a risk to our environment, lets at least ensure that the oil stays in America.

    March 22, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  15. Durundal

    *SIGH* which further proves my point that americans have no idea about economics and what goes into a product's price. Aggregated demand functions make it laughable to think that said pipeline is going to make at most more than a drop in the bucket on domestic prices when considering anything at more than the micro level. And you people think the added oil is going into YOUR tanks? hahaha, please youre only kidding yourselves – the only thing you are sharing is the environmental/health bill for the associated company's horrible track record. You poor gullible ....

    March 22, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. Four and The Door

    Larry L
    ...The real winners would be the fat-cats in the oil business who have been spending millions to sway America's viewpoint on the pipeline...
    Or maybe the 130,000 employees in the American petroleum industry who make an average of $23/ hour. These are hard working middle class Americans. Lots of them.

    Or maybe the American Federal Government which collects $43 billion a year on taxes from this industry. Your comment was shallow partisan politics.

    March 22, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Obama's Snake Oil on Sale - Git yur lies and deceit here!!

    WHAT?!! The American people are agin me?!! My snake oil must have dun lost its potentcy!! And I'm almost out of smoke, mirrors and time. Time to think up something else to distract people.

    March 22, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. 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!!

    March 22, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Four and The Door wrote:

    Or maybe the 130,000 employees in the American petroleum industry who make an average of $23/ hour. These are hard working middle class Americans. Lots of them.

    Or maybe the American Federal Government which collects $43 billion a year on taxes from this industry. Your comment was shallow partisan politics.
    Whatever the exact count, those are existing jobs. Republicans have promised us over 100,000 new jobs. A figure that we know to be completely false. Rick Perry even stood up in a debate and promised over a million jobs would be created.

    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.

    March 22, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The employment number is closer to 6000 than the 100,000 that ExxonMobil and Fox foreign owned media with a hint of Saudi tells us.

    March 22, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Patriot Awesome

    Ummm.. the president has never said that he opposes the pipeline. He just doesn't want to rush into it without addressing the environmental concerns of the republican governor of Nebraska. If there was a chance of dirty oil sand running through your drinking water, you would be cautious about it too.

    March 22, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  22. AKsteve

    Take the poll when gas is $3/gallon and I bet you see a totally different result.

    March 22, 2012 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. RickM

    Obama Can make the Pice of gas go down by doing one thing, Write one of his FAMOUS Executive Decree's that All oil pumped in America Stays in America until WE reach 100% of our needs, and then only 20% over that can be sold to other countries. And then Watch the cost of GAS go DOWN...

    March 22, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. Marlee

    I vote NO on pipeline. It is past time to transistion to sustainable energy. We have some experience with oil pipelines here in MI. Not worth the damage!

    March 22, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I wonder what republicans call the non stop lies that Mittens is spewing every day? I think it might be called Mittens' skunk spray.

    March 22, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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