A majority of both Americans and Canadians support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to funnel oil from Alberta's tar sands to Texas refineries, according to polls Monday.

Seventy percent of Americans and 60 percent of Canadians surveyed by Nik Nanos had a "positive or somewhat positive view" of the project, the polling firm said in a statement.

When tepid support for Keystone XL is included in the tally, the polling figures rise to 74 and 68 percent respectively.

Nik Nanos said an appetite for reducing reliance on oil imports from outside North America is driving public opinion.

Energy security, particularly in the United States, trumps reducing greenhouse gases as a policy priority by a factor of two-to-one, it said.

Furthermore, both Americans (76 percent) and Canadians (66 percent) strongly support pursuing a continental energy strategy, the surveys found.

The random surveys of 1,007 Americans and 1,013 Canadians were conducted in the weeks before the US State Department began public hearings last Thursday as it prepares its recommendation on whether to approve the Keystone XL project.

Both surveys are considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points.

The United States is expected to decide soon on the fate of TransCanada's $5.3 billion proposal to build a 1,179-mile (1,897 kilometer) pipeline from the Canadian province of Alberta to the US state of Nebraska, where it would hook up with a new southern leg to bring the oil to refineries in Texas.