Oilsands poll shows Canadians evenly split
Just over half, 51 per cent, of those surveyed agreed with the statement that "while there are some risks to the environment with this development, the need for energy in Canada outweighs those risks."
Meanwhile, 49 per cent of Canadians agree with the sentiment that "while there is a need for energy in Canada, it does not outweigh the environmental risks with this development."
The controversial issue has polarized the nation, though not along East-West lines as some might have predicted. Residents of Atlantic Canada (64 per cent), Alberta (62 per cent) and Ontario (58 per cent) are most likely to agree that the need for energy outweighs the environmental risks.
Residents of Quebec (71 per cent) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (both 60 per cent) are more likely to think that the environmental risks associated with oilsands development outweigh the need for energy.
A majority of Canadians (70 per cent) have seen, read or heard something about oilsands development, for example, through news coverage, but 30 per cent say they have not.
However, nearly one quarter (22 per cent) of Canadians who have heard about oilsands development either don't know or don't care enough to determine whether or not it's a good thing or a bad thing.
When combined with the proportion who haven't heard about the development, this amounts to about four in 10 (42 per cent) Canadians who are either in the dark or indifferent about the project.
Ipsos Reid conducted the poll Sept. 7-13, 2010, on behalf of CBC. A sample of 1,008 adults from Ipsos's Canadian online panel were surveyed.