Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Survey

61 Percent Favor Building Keystone Pipeline


The latest Reason-Rupe poll finds that 61 percent of Americans favor building the 1,200 mile Keystone XL pipeline that would carry oil from Canada through the Midwest to refineries on the Gulf Coast. A third (32 percent) of Americans oppose the proposal.

Proponents of the long-delayed and contentious Keystone pipeline route say it will drive down gas prices and will create new jobs. Opponents say the pipeline could run too close to environmentally sensitive areas, and exacerbate global warming by increasing the fossil fuel use. The latter has been pushing hard to convince the Obama administration to reject the proposal.

Since the pipeline crosses an international border, President Obama, with input from the State Department, must grant approval for the pipeline before it is allowed to proceed. Reason-Rupe finds that if Obama approves the project, 18 percent say they would view him more favorably, 14 percent would view him less favorably, but two thirds would not change their minds about the president.

Over two years ago, President Obama rejected the proposal saying more time was needed to evaluate the effects of the pipeline. Still today, no decision has been made. Earlier this year, theState Department concluded that approving the project would have little impact on global greenhouse gas emissions since Canadian production would continue regardless of Keystone. Now the State Department, with eight separate agencies weighing in, will consider if the project is in the broader "national interest."

Despite fervent opposition from the liberal wing of the president's party, 50 percent of Democrats favor approving the oil route while 43 percent oppose. However, Reason-Rupe's measure of ideological groups find that ideological liberals are opposed to the pipeline with 37 percent in favor and 57 percent opposed.

Republicans are most favorable of Keystone, by a margin of 82 to 13 percent. A majority (57 percent) of independents are also in favor, while 35 percent are opposed.

If President Obama approves Keystone, 17 percent of Democrats say they would view him less favorably, however nearly a third of Republicans say such a move would improve their perception of the president.

These results comport with a recent Washington Post/ABC poll on support for the pipeline. The poll also found that despite high support for the pipeline, 47 percent of Americans also thought building the oil route would pose a significant risk to the environment.  Taken together, this suggests that Americans may be willing to deal with the potential environmental risks to access the economic benefits of Keystone.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted March 26-30 2014 interviewed 1003 adults on both mobile (503) and landline (500) phones, with a margin of error +/- 3.6%. Princeton Survey Research Associates International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results, detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe poll here.

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  1. Now the State Department, with eight separate agencies weighing in, will consider if the project is in the broader “national interest.”

    Because the State Department had no chance to consider it for the last five years.

    1. Broader national interests translates to political concerns for upcoming elections.

  2. What’s with the stock photo of an above ground pipe?

    1. ‘Hey, intern! I need a shot of a pipeline!’

    2. You expect them to get a photo of an in-ground pipeline?

      1. There’s one running parallel to a bridge near the old air force base in rome. It comes above ground to cross the creek, then goes back below ground on the far side. What would a picture of that one count as?

    3. It was a setup for some great alt-text, but Ekins messed it up like always.

  3. “Now the State Department, with eight separate agencies weighing in, will consider if the project is in the broader “national interest.””

    And Obo’s handlers will weigh the costs of maybe pissing off some of his most rabid money machines, compared to the fact that they continue to lick the ground where he walked.
    But Obo will NEVER make such a decision based on mere campaign contributions!

  4. OT: The fear-mongering begins:…..oting-wife

    Pot doesn’t kill, pot CANDY does!

    1. It’s not unheard of for high concentrations of THC (like you might find in candies) to precipitate psychotic episodes in those who are predisposed to psychosis.

      It’s rare, but it does happen. Same is true of shrooms and LSD.

  5. If the people polled really wanted to get this approved they should have said they would have a more favorable view of Obama, since he only does things he thinks will improve his standing. Then again, people who think that far ahead don’t usually waste time being polled.

  6. Apparently Obama believes the ideological left, aka: pipeline deniers, will abandon him and/or not vote in 2014 if he approves the building of the pipeline. He’s not running for anything this year so he thinks Democrat senators and representatives that are up for election this year will lose if he approves the pipeline?

    That makes no sense to me. What am I missing?

  7. No mention of the hundreds of land owners having their property seized and given to a private corporation against their will. Oh well, I guess private property rights take a back seat for important Libertarian goals like a centralized national energy policy.

    1. You prolly ought to read the comments before you drag that strawman out for punishment.
      See anyone here pitching the pipeline as opposed to beating on Obo? I don’t.

      1. I was referring to the article. How come the eminent domain issues weren’t brought up in the poll given Reason commissioned it and presumably had some say on the contents?

        1. I’m only guessing that the poll was intended to simply gauge the support vs. Obo’s popularity; adding another issue could have muddied the data.
          But if you check the comments on past articles, it’s an issue that is front and center. Much as I’d like to jam it down Obo’s throat, I don’t back it specifically because of ED.

          1. My other concern is pipe operators who fail to properly maintain their pipes and then stick tax payers with hundreds of millions in cleanup costs when they fail (e.g. Enbridge’s Talmadge Creek spill)

            1. Those straws won’t grasp themselves!

          2. On the other hand, as PapayaSF below shows, other comments were willing to come up with BS excuses why this is a valid use of ED because embarassing Obama is more important than principle.

            1. Take that up with PapayaSF.

        2. Because that would make it a push poll?

  8. So what if a majority of individuals support a pipeline. The rights belong to the individual, to include their property. It does not belong to the collective. However, that would be in a free society unlike today. If the govt approves this, they will probably use eminent domain on behalf of special interests, against those whom are “in the way” of the pipeline.

    Free individuals could have decided either to lease their land, or sell it to accommodate the pipeline. Any damages from construction or use would go to the landowners, not some monstrous bureaucracy for them to waste it. One can look to the BP disaster to see how corrupt the govt and the corporation that benefited from it for so long are. The company most likely would have gone broke, yet they compensated the individuals who were harmed by this with a little pittance, while a fraudulent, negligent company continued on doing business. BP has benefited (like so many special interests) from politicians for a very long time, and has been shielded from the market.

    1. I think this is a valid use of eminent domain. It’s not like tearing down someone’s home or business to build some other home or business that will pay more in taxes.

      Us old folks will remember the opposition to the Alaska pipeline, which was going to devastate Alaskan wildlife.

      1. Yeah, it’s just a regular old tearing down someone’s home, which is great!

        1. I don’t think the pipeline is going to destroy homes. It’s passing through rural areas.

          1. And it’s buried in the ground so for most purposes property owners will not lose any of the use that they already put their property to.

            1. Of course, much of the need for ED would disappear if the Feds would change the rules about allowing utilities within Interstate Highway rights-of-way.

  9. PapayaSF: “I think this is a valid use of eminent domain. It’s not like tearing down someone’s home or business to build some other home or business that will pay more in taxes.

    Us old folks will remember the opposition to the Alaska pipeline, which was going to devastate Alaskan wildlife.”

    There is no valid use of eminent domain in regards to individual propert rights and liberty period. Taking someone’s land by force of government for the benefit of a corporation, or itself goes against the natural rights of freedom and liberty. What if the government took your home and land, and gave it to a company that is building an abotion clinic? Oh the humanity!!!!! now that it effects you. But it was fine when they were building a pipeline that you didn’t mind.

    This is why thoughts such as this are such a danger to liberty. Not attacking you, but if you think along these lines, then you are just as grave a threat to freedom and liberty than the liberals (socialists, communists, fascists, etc.) are, as you are just condoning your own version of force and violence for something you are comfortable with.

    1. I am, by nature, a non-purist. Though I lean libertarian, I am willing to compromise. Some judicious use of eminent domain, fairly compensated (and then some) to build things like roads and pipelines seems like an appropriate trade-off, though I realize it doesn’t comport with libertarian ideology.

      1. You are not willing to use compromise, but force, or violence against others. If someone refused to give up their property, how many are you willing to beat up or kill in order to take it from them to build a road or pipeline?

        Roads can be handled through free individuals in a free market, as can pipelines so long as the individuals property rights are respected. The non government subsidized railroads did this, and other industry throughout history.

        Governments are horrible at road construction, and there can never be economizing, nor incentives to reduce costs with central planning and bureaucracy. They are shielded from the market, just like those companies that run to the politicians to use eminent domain on their behalf.

        The only reason folks can advocate force against others and continue doing it is when politicians shield them from consequences by threatening others knowing they have the police and standing armies to back them up.

        In one compromising liberty, they do so not affecting only them, but others as they are subjected to violence if they do not obey, and are therefore enslaved.

        1. Which “non government subsidized railroads” were those?


  11. We’d all like to lay some pipe.

  12. I don’t see a win in this for Obama to approve the pipelines…for him I mean, or for the Dems. Perhaps after the elections, then maybe, but before, no.

    People who oppose him, oppose him, and nothing he does will give him any traction with this group. They’re not going to say, ‘well, now I like him, this makes all the difference’. People who like him however might be put off with him approving the pipeline, and might not vote as a result. It demoralizes the ultra left base.

    Most people have made up their minds on him by now. Nothing much will change it. The only people affected by it will be the ultra ideological who love him because they think he epitomizes their world view. If he rejects their world view he, and the Dems, loses some of them.

    Hence…I don’t see him making a decision until after the elections. If the Dems hold the Senate, he approves it. If they lose the Senate, and O’Care is threatened, he nixes it out of spite.

    Just my prediction.

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