A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California released this week shows that residents of the Golden State remain far more left-wing than Americans elsewhere. Majorities of the 1,706 adults surveyed favor President Barack Obama, like Obamacare, support amnesty for illegal immigrants, favor high taxes, and say government should redistribute wealth. Yet a 54% of Californians–and 44% of Democrats–say that the Keystone XL pipeline should be built, contrary to Obama’s veto.
The majority support for Keystone XL is similar to levels recorded last year. Why Californians support the pipeline is a mystery, given the state’s far-left preferences on a variety of fiscal and social issues. The survey also found, for example, that 60% of Californians consider “global warming”–not referred to by the euphemistic “climate change” in the poll–to be a “very serious” problem. Even famously liberal millennials favor the Keystone XL pipeline by a margin of 49% to 43%.
One reason that Californians may support the project is that the state currently imports much of its oil by rail, despite the fact that it has large, untapped petroleum reserves of its own. The oil trains, in turn, pose a risk of derailing–a topic that has caused public alarm in recent weeks. Californians also pay higher prices for fuel than residents pay in the rest of the nation. The average price per gallon in California is currently $3.32, compared to $2.54 elsewhere, according to reports.
The strong local support for Keystone XL may disappoint local billionaire Tom Steyer, who has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Democratic Party campaign coffers in an attempt to stop the pipeline–despite the fact that he owes some of his own wealth to investments in the fossil fuel industry. Steyer recently bowed out of contention for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer. Perhaps the majority support for Keystone XL in California explains why.