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Quebec City Aug. 31, 2005. (CP PHOTO/ Clement Allard)

The Canadian Press said Monday a Leger poll suggested 49 per cent of respondents want petroleum resources nationalized while 43 per cent said they would like to see the same fate for gas companies.

The Leger Marketing telephone survey of 1,500 people was conducted between Aug. 24 and Aug. 31, much of it before the major effects of Hurricane Katrina were felt.

Canadian gasoline prices jumped about 25 cents a litre since the storm hit the U.S. Gulf Coast a week ago Monday.

Quebecers were the strongest supporters of resource nationalization at 67 per cent, followed by residents of the Atlantic provinces at 53 per cent, Ontarians at 45 per cent and British Columbians at 42 per cent.

Forty per cent of respondents on the Prairies and 36 per cent of Albertans were in favour.

Among those opposed to resource nationalization, Albertans led the way at 49 per cent followed by British Columbians at 39 per cent.

Quebec led in support for nationalization of oil companies, with 61 per cent in favour, followed by the Atlantic provinces at 46 per cent.

Alberta was the most opposed to oil company nationalization at 59 per cent, followed by the prairies at 49 per cent, B.C. at 46 per cent and Ontario at 41 per cent.

Most of the respondents -- 79 per cent -- suggested they would like to see taxes on gasoline cut. Federal and provincial governments have made it clear that is unlikely to happen.

Seventy-six per cent of respondents indicated they wanted the government to intervene after gas prices increased before Katrina hit the coast.

Fifty-four per cent suggested they would like the government to fix the pump price.

Twenty-six per cent of respondents blamed the gas companies for pre-Katrina price jumps and 18 per cent blamed oil-producing countries.

Interestingly, 63 per cent of respondents said pre-Katrina gas price hikes had not affected their fuel consumption, while 25 per cent said they were using less gas.

Results of the poll are considered accurate within plus or minus 2.6 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

On Labour Day, gas prices in Montreal and Halifax averaged $1.38 a litre and the regulated price in St. John's, N.L., was $1.48.

In Toronto, prices ranged from $1.22 to about $1.35 a litre.

Western drivers paid between $1.08 and $1.13 in Edmonton, and between $1.07 and $1.14 in Calgary.