A majority of Democrats want the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, but the project is highlighting divisions between segments of the party’s supporters, according to a new poll.
The American public at large remains highly supportive of the pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf coast.
Sixty-one percent of all respondents in a Pew poll released on Wednesday want the pipeline built, while only 27 percent oppose its construction.
Democrats favor the project by a 49-38 margin.
Among college-educated Democrats, support for the pipeline is low. Only 39 percent favor the pipeline, while 47 percent oppose it.
However, Democrats without college degrees favor construction, 53 percent to 34 percent.
The poll also shows that support for the pipeline is strongest among lower-income Americans.
A 54 percent majority of those making less than $50,000 per year support the project. Of the three income groups listed, only a majority of those making more than $100,000 opposes the pipeline.
Keystone is becoming a political liability for Democrats as key segments of the party’s base such as labor unions grow weary of the administration’s continued refusal to issue a decision on its construction.
The project must receive approval from the State Department because it crosses an international border.