Support for Keystone waning among Canadians, poll suggests

In April 2013, a poll by Nanos Research suggested that about 67% of Canadians supported TransCanada's proposed Keystone pipeline. Nanos conducted that same poll again last month and the results show that support for Keystone has declined by more than 10%.

The new poll suggests that the majority of Canadians still want to see Keystone XL go forward; about 52% of those surveyed said they support or somewhat support approval of the project.

However, only 47.5% of Canadians had a positive or somewhat positive impression of the project, compared to 60% in April 2013.

Project awareness has also increased slightly, to about 94%.

Opinions vary greatly by region. In British Columbia for example, 62% of respondents in December had negative views of the project. In April this figure was 34%. Meanwhile, only 24% of respondents in the prairies said last month that they had a negative view of the Keystone pipeline.

And while BC was Keystone's biggest supporter in April – with 75% wanting approval – in the following survey, only 40% saying they want to see the project approved, making BC Keystone's least supportive region.

The results are based on two days of random telephone and online surveys of 1,000 people. The research was commissioned independently by Nanos Research and led by Nik Nanos, a Global Fellow on Energy Policy at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC, and President of Nanos Research.

The survey results come in the midst of a heated debate in Canada over Alberta's oil sands. Rockstar Neil Young has been very vocal about his opposition to oil sands development and recently embarked on a benefit tour to support First Nations communities in their fight against the industry's expansion.

Young's attack has sparked a war of words, with the Prime Minister's office issuing its own statement and various other rebuttals from academics, industry people and commentators.

It's also a critical moment for Keystone approval. The Canadian government has been lobbying intensely in Washington to gain the Obama administration's blessing. US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday he would like to give his “friends in Canada” a prompt answer but that environmental studies on the pipeline’s impacts are not finished yet.

See the full poll results here