The new results from the nationally representative UT Energy Poll are out today, highlighting the way so many energy issues have become politicized. A standout this time is the Keystone XL pipeline project–the last segment of a pipeline system that runs from western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. Construction on this yet-to-be-approved final phase has become a lightning rod for contentious public debate.
Just 42 percent of 2,078 survey respondents are even familiar with Keystone XL. Among them, 72 percent of Republicans support its construction, while just 28 percent of Democrats agree.
Sixty-two percent of Republicans would be more likely to vote for a political candidate who favors completion of Keystone XL, while just 29 percent of Democrats agree. Meanwhile, general support among all survey respondents for candidates who favor construction of the pipeline has declined, from 46 percent six months ago to 39 percent today.
Despite that political battles over Keystone XL on Capitol Hill and in the media usually revolve around climate change, only 6 percent of those opposed to the pipeline project cite climate change as their top concern. Instead, 36 percent are most worried about environmental degradation and 14 percent point to water contamination. Meanwhile, 26 percent who support the project say their top reason is greater energy independence, 25 percent cite job creation and another 25 percent believe it will lead to lower energy prices.