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Albertans want more pipelines and a diversified economy, according to Vote Compass data

From pipelines to carbon taxes to economic dependence on oil and gas, Vote Compass data provides insight into the minds of Alberta voters.

Online survey shows the economy and environment are top of mind

Respondents to Vote Compass want more pipelines, but they also think the economy is too dependent on oil and gas. (Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press)

It should probably come as no surprise that a huge majority of Albertans strongly disagree with the statement that no new pipelines should be built here.

But it might come as a surprise that 70 per cent of Albertans say the economy is too dependent on oil and gas. 

Those are just two of the insights provided by data from Vote Compass, a tool designed by Vox Pop Labs for CBC News. 

  • VOTE COMPASS | Find out how your views on campaign issues line up with the platforms of Alberta's major parties

Fully 62 per cent of those plugging answers into the online questionnaire strongly disagreed with the no-new-pipelines statement, while a further 17 per cent somewhat disagreed. 

Only eight per cent strongly agreed that Alberta should not build any more pipes. 

A majority disagree with the statement that no new pipelines should be built in Alberta. (Vox Pop Labs)

Support for pipelines was varied but solid across age groups, sex, geography.

The biggest difference was the breakdown on voter intention, with only 38 per cent of Liberal supporters strongly disagreeing with the statement, followed by 44 per cent of NDP supporters, 69 per cent of Alberta Party supporters and 86 per cent of UCP supporters. 

Dependency 

On the other end of the equation, respondents were asked whether they agree or disagree that the provincial economy is too dependent on oil and gas. 

Only 33 per cent strongly agreed, but another 37 per cent somewhat agreed. Only nine per cent strongly disagreed that we're too dependent.

A majority of respondents think Alberta's economy is too dependent on oil and gas. (Vox Pop Labs)

Again, the findings held across a broad spectrum of demographics, but it's interesting to note that Albertans 55 years of age or older were more likely to think we're too dependent. 

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Party affiliation was also a divider in this category. 

While a huge majority of NDP supporters — 91 per cent — either strongly agreed or somewhat agreed that Alberta is too dependent, only 43 per cent of UCP supporters thought so. 

Liberals and Alberta Party supporters also leaned heavily toward the the notion we're too dependent on oil and gas. 

The carbon tax

On whether Alberta should abolish its provincial carbon tax, 48 per cent either strongly or somewhat agreed that was the proper course, while 40 per cent either strongly or somewhat disagreed. 

Interestingly, Albertans 55 years or older were more likely to strongly support the carbon tax — with 31 per cent strongly opposed to its elimination — than other age categories. 

UCP supporters definitely want the carbon tax gone, a main plank of the party, with 75 per cent strongly agreeing that it needs to go. That number goes up to 89 per cent when counting UCP supporters who somewhat agree. 

A majority of respondents want the carbon tax scrapped. (Vox Pop Labs)

Only 50 per cent of NDP supporters strongly disagreed with the statement, a figure that jumped to 75 per cent when counting those who somewhat disagreed. 

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The majority of Liberals strongly or somewhat disagreed with getting rid of the tax, while Alberta Party supporters were just barely in the abolish camp. 

Regions also shape how Albertans view the tax, with 46 per cent of Albertans outside the two major centres of Calgary and Edmonton saying they strongly agreed the tax should be abolished. 

On the opposite spectrum, Edmontonian are its biggest supporters, with 36 per cent supporting the price on carbon.

Damage by oilsands

The questionnaire also asked respondents whether they think the environmental damage caused by the oilsands industry is exaggerated and a majority said yes. 

Thirty-one per cent said they strongly agreed it's exaggerated, while 24 per cent somewhat agreed. 

Respondents 35 years or older were far more likely to agree with the statement, but a majority of those 18 to 34 years old also strongly or somewhat agreed. 

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Along party lines, UCP supporters were far more likely to think the effects are overblown, with 61 per cent strongly agreeing and a further 25 per cent somewhat agreeing. 

Most respondents think the environmental damage caused by the oilsands is exaggerated. (Vox Pop Labs)

On the other side, a majority of NDP supporters, 53 per cent, and Liberal supporters, 51 per cent, either somewhat or strongly disagreed that the damage was exaggerated. 

A majority of Edmontonians don't think the claims are exaggerated.

86,513 respondents

The survey also covered whether Alberta should produce more energy from renewables, with 39 per cent saying Alberta should produce somewhat more, while 30 per cent said much more.  

It also revealed respondents think government should play the biggest role in solving environmental issues and that there was indifference mixed with support for the creation of new parks in Bighorn Country. 

  • Find out how Alberta's political parties are faring in our Poll Tracker

Developed by a team of social and statistical scientists from Vox Pop Labs, Vote Compass is a civic engagement application offered in Alberta exclusively by CBC/Radio-Canada. The findings are based on 86,513 respondents who participated in Vote Compass from March 20 to March 31, 2019.

Unlike online opinion polls, respondents to Vote Compass are not pre-selected. Similar to opinion polls, however, the data are a non-random sample from the population and have been weighted in order to approximate a representative sample. Vote Compass data have been weighted by gender, age, education, language and region to ensure the sample's composition reflects that of the actual population of Alberta according to census data and other population estimates.

About the Author

Drew Anderson

Drew Anderson is a web journalist at CBC Calgary. Like almost every journalist working today, he's won a few awards. He's also a third-generation Calgarian. You can follow him on Twitter @drewpanderson. Contact him in confidence at drew.anderson@cbc.ca.

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