A significant majority of Americans support building the Keystone XL pipeline, according to a ABC/Washington Post poll released Friday.
Despite relatively widespread concerns about its potential effects on the environment, 65 percent of Americans said the government should approve construction of the pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada to Texas. That is an increase over a June 2012 poll that found 59 percent supported its construction.
For many, economic factors outweigh the environmental hazards: 85 percent said they think the pipeline will create a significant number of jobs. Although 47 percent said they believe the pipeline would pose a significant risk to the environment, those who said it's a risk are still split almost evenly on whether it should be approved.
Democrats who self-identify as liberals oppose the project by a 47 percent to 36 percent margin. But 51 percent of all Democrats polled said they think it should be approved. Support is even higher among Republicans, with 82 percent saying that the Keystone XL should be built.
An environmental report that the State Department issued in January found that the pipeline would not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions, although another study has argued that the report downplays the pipeline's potential impact.
In statements reported by the Washington Post, a spokesperson for the American Petroleum Institute called on President Obama to go along with the majority of Americans. Bill Burton, a former Obama aide and consultant for the League of Conservation Voters, said the president has shown before that he's willing to challenge public opinion on policy issues.
The ABC /Post poll surveyed 1,002 adults, between Feb. 27 and March 2, using live telephone calls to both landlines and cell phones.