11/21/2013 03:17 EST | Updated 11/21/2013 05:25 EST

Enbridge Northern Gateway Poll Shows Support Growing In B.C.

Jesse Ferreras

Attitudes in B.C. to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline are changing, at least according to a new survey released by Insights West Thursday.

The online survey polled 749 British Columbians between Nov. 12 and 15, and found that opposition to the pipeline project had waned over the past ten months, with support increasing by seven per cent compared to a earlier poll conducted by Insights West in February.

According to Insights West, support for the project in B.C. now stands at 42 per cent, up from 35 per cent in February.

The statistics showing opposition to the project are arguably more significant, Insights West suggests. General opposition has dropped 14 percent from 61 per cent in February to 47 per cent now.

Those polled in February identifying themselves as "strongly opposed" made up 38 per cent of respondents, while the most recent poll registers them at 29 per cent. In contrast those identifying as having "strong support" for the project increased from 11 per cent to 16 per cent.

“At the start of the year, strong opposition to the Northern Gateway outranked strong support by an almost 4-to-1 margin—now it’s less than 2-to-1,” Mario Canseco, vice president, public affairs at Insights West said in a press release. “While a large proportion of British Columbians continue to have reservations about the project, the numbers are very different from what we observed at the start of the year.”

The same cannot be said about the thorny issue of oil tanker traffic, however, with 88 per cent of respondents "concerned" about any increase in movement, and 85 per cent worried about the risk of an oil spill.

While much of the population of B.C. remains concerned over the environmental impact, Canseco notes, the argument about economic benefits has gained traction over the past few months.”

Results of the poll have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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