Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Pew Survey Shows Strong Support For Keystone Pipeline

Apr 2: As the Obama administration approaches a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, a national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted March 13-17, finds broad public support for the project. According to the survey, two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor building the pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada's oil sands region through the Midwest to refineries in Texas. Just 23% oppose construction of the pipeline.

    The national survey was conducted among 1,501 adults. According to a release from Pew, support for the pipeline spans most demographic and partisan groups. Substantial majorities of Republicans (82%) and independents (70%) favor building the Keystone XL pipeline, as do 54% of Democrats. But there is a division among Democrats: 60% of the party's conservatives and moderates support building the pipeline, compared with just 42% of liberal Democrats. The survey also found that the public has mixed opinions about increased use of fracking, a drilling method that uses high-pressure water and chemicals to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations. About half (48%) of Americans favor the increased use of this process, while 38% are opposed.

    The survey also finds that 69% say there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades. That is little changed from last October (67%), but up 12 points since October 2009. However, at the same time, the percentage of Americans who say that global warming is a very serious problem has slipped six points, from 39% to 33%, since last October. Current opinions about whether global warming is a very serious problem are similar to those in 2009 and 2010.

    Pew indicates that there are regional differences in opinions about the increased use of fracking. More than half of those who live in the Midwest (55%) and South (52%) favor the increased use of fracking; there is less support in the West (43%) and Northeast (37%). While men favor the increased use of fracking by a 55% to 34% margin, women are divided (41% favor, 42% oppose). Twice as many Republicans (66%) as Democrats (33%) favor the increased use of fracking. Independents, by a 51% to 36% margin, support the increased use of fracking.

    Looking deeper at the global warming results, Pew indicates that currently, 69% say there is solid evidence that the earth's average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades. Among those who see evidence of global warming, more say it is caused mostly by human activity (42% of the public) than by natural patterns in the earth's environment (23%). Nearly three-in-ten Americans (27%) say there is no solid evidence of warming. The opinions are little changed from last fall. But four years ago, just 57% saw solid evidence of global warming and 36% said it was mostly caused by human activity. Also, there has been a sizable partisan gap in views about whether there is solid evidence of global warming since the Pew Research Center began asking this question in 2006. In the current survey, almost twice as many Democrats (87%) as Republicans (44%) say there is solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been rising. Further, Democrats are three times as likely as Republicans to say that human activity is mostly causing global warming (57% vs. 19%).

    About half of Democrats (48%) say global warming is a very serious problem, an eight-point decline from 56% last October. The percentage of independents saying global warming is a very serious problem also has slipped, from 39% to 31%. Just 14% of Republicans say global warming is a very serious problem; in October, 19% of Republicans expressed this view.

    Regarding details of the survey methodology, Pew indicates that the analysis in the report is based on telephone interviews conducted March 13-17, 2013, among a national sample of 1,501 adults (420 Republicans, 487 Democrats & 498 Independents), 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia (750 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 751 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 385 who had no landline telephone). The survey was conducted by Abt SRBI. A combination of landline and cell phone random digit dial samples were used; both samples were provided by Survey Sampling International. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home. Interviews in the cell sample were conducted with the person who answered the phone, if that person was an adult 18 years of age or older.

    Access a detailed release from Pew with tables and charts of results and links to further details (click here). Access the complete 10-page survey report (click here). [#Energy/KXL, #Climate, #Energy/Frack]

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