By Theophilos Argitis
TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline is losing popular support in Canada, a development that could embolden opponents of the project, according to a poll released today by Nanos Research Group.
Canadian support for the $5.4 billion link between Alberta’s oil sands and U.S. Gulf Coast refineries has declined to 52 percent in December from 68 percent in April, while opposition has increased to 40 percent from 28 percent. The survey of 1,000 Canadians taken between Dec. 14 and Dec. 16 has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, according to the Ottawa-based agency.
The poll adds to evidence that a push by environmental groups, aboriginal activists and celebrities such as musician Neil Young opposed to big oil projects may be affecting public opinion. President Barack Obama’s government is weighing whether to approve TransCanada’s plans. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is a strong proponent of the pipeline, a key part of the country’s plans to find new markets for its oil.
The Canadian government “has to be concerned about the erosion of approval in Canada, not just in terms of its impact in Canada but also in terms of the U.S.,” Nik Nanos, president of Nanos Research and Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said in an interview. “This has implications for the anti-Keystone movement in both countries.”