09/29/2012 11:51 EDT | Updated 11/29/2012 05:12 EST

The Nanos Number: Energy for us or for export?

Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC News Network's Power & Politics to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives.

This week: What are Canadians feeling about country's energy the future?

Nanos Research asked a group of 1,000 Americans and 1,000 Canadians about the best option when it comes to the future direction of an energy policy.

"Thinking about the future direction of energy policy, do you think the best course of action is to develop a continental energy strategy which ensures the supply of energy for the U.S. and Canada or a strategy which focuses on exporting energy?"

The majority of respondents from both sides of the border favoured a continental energy strategy over an export one:

- 63 per cent of Canadians favoured a continental energy strategy, as did 73 per cent of Americans.

- 16.9 per cent of Canadians and only 8.7 per cent of Americans favoured an energy export strategy.

- 20 per cent of Canadians and 18.2 per cent of Americans were unsure.

The government has been focussed on developing new markets, especially when it comes to Canada's natural resources, including looking at shipping oil to the Asia-Pacific region. The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline could be a key factor in that plan.

But Nanos says that Canadians might not be so sure and may be more comfortable with a partnership with the United States.

"They understand that the United States is a key energy partner. It's a major market for Canadian energy, not just for oil but also electricity, and that given the choice they'd focus on making sure that the continental strategy is strong before we start talking about sending that energy outside of Canada."

That feeling about a continental energy strategy is even stronger south of the border.

Nanos says the U.S. sees Canada as a natural partner when it comes to not just energy but many other issues as well.

"There's a long history between Canada and the United States. Very close trading partners, integrated economies. I think an integrated energy strategy fits in with that," Nanos says.

Recognized as one of Canada's top research experts, Nik Nanos provides numbers-driven counsel to senior executives and major organizations. He leads the analyst team at Nanos, is a Fellow of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association and a Research Associate Professor with SUNY (Buffalo).