By JOHN DiSTASO, News Editor
CONCORD — With the U.S. Senate now debating whether to have a binding vote on the Keystone KXL Pipeline, 58 percent of Granite Staters support completion of the project, while only 26 percent oppose it, according to a new poll.
A poll by Hickman Analytics for the pro-pipeline Consumer Energy Alliance also asked likely voters whether they would be more or less likely to support Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for reelection if President Obama delays or denies construction of the project through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska to bring oil from Canada to refineries in Texas.
The poll of 400 likely voters showed Shaheen and potential general election opponent Republican Scott Brown near a statistical dead heat (see related story).
Among those polled, 38 percent were independents, 30 percent were Republicans and 28 percent were Democrats.
The polls showed that 72 percent supported “expanding existing natural gas pipelines and building new natural gas infrastructure to increase the natural gas supply for electricity generation and home heating in the Northeast.”
Fifty-eight percent backed the Keystone project specifically (including 59 percent of independents), while 28 percent were opposed to it, and 66 percent said they believed the Obama administration’s recently announced delay in a final decision on the pipeline “possibly until after the elections this fall” was driven by politics, while 23 percent said the delay was necessary to gather more information..
If President Obama delays making a decision on Keystone until after the election, 34 percent said they would be less likely to vote for Shaheen, while 17 percent said they would be more likely to vote for her and 43 percent said it would make no difference.
Those who expressed support for Keystone were then asked if they would be more or less likely to vote for Shaheen if Obama denies the permit, and 47 percent said they would be less likely, 13 percent more likely, with 32 percent saying it would make no difference. The sample for that question was 232 pipeline supporters and the margin of error was 6.4 percent.
Also, 76 percent of those polled said energy issues were important to how they will vote in the election, while 21 percent said they were not important.