ekos-drilling-cp-052010

Canadians have mixed feelings about offshore drilling in Canadian waters in light of the current oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a new poll suggests.

According to an EKOS survey released exclusively to CBC News on Thursday, 39 per cent of respondents said offshore drilling in Canadian waters should be suspended until the government can review the risks, while 13 per cent said the practice should be stopped permanently.

But 32 per cent of respondents believe drilling should continue until it is determined whether there are serious risks of a similar spill off Canada's shores, and another nine per cent said they think drilling should continue as usual.

Opinions on offshore drilling varied by political support, according to the poll, with 39 per cent of Conservative supporters saying drilling should continue until risks are determined, and 18 per cent saying drilling should continue as normal.

Conversely, NDP and Green Party supporters were more likely to say that drilling should be stopped permanently, at 17 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

Women were more likely to say offshore drilling should be suspended until the government can review the risks, while men are more likely to say it should continue until risks can be determined of it should continue as normal, the poll suggests.

B.C. residents more likely to oppose drilling

Regionally, those in British Columbia are more likely than others to say that the offshore drilling should be stopped permanently, while those in Alberta are most likely to say drilling should continue as normal.

Older Canadians aged 65 and up were more likely than other age groups to believe that offshore drilling should be stopped permanently or suspended until the risks can be reviewed.

Those with university level education are more likely than those with high school education to say that drilling should continue until the risks can be reviewed, according to the survey.

The poll of 2,281 people was conducted by telephone between May 13 and 18, and has an error margin of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.