Obama faces trouble with $4 gasoline
Polls show Americans blame Democrats more than Republicans for $4 gasoline prices, and President Obama's poll numbers show it. But people blame big oil companies even more, which may be a political opening for Obama.
Presidential campaigns are all about numbers – dollars raised, voters registered, poll results. In the early days of his reelection bid, President Obama is focusing on one number: $4 per gallon gasoline.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
It’s a major irritant to most Americans, one that could have significant impact on household economies. And, according to a variety of surveys, Democrats and Obama bear most of the responsibility if not the blame.
That may not be fair, but it’s a fact Obama has to deal with – especially at a time when the latest New York Times/CBS News poll shows 70 percent believing the country is headed in the wrong direction and 57 percent don’t like the way he’s handling the economy.
National Journal’s poll of political insiders shows a great majority – including 75 percent of Democratic insiders – predicting that the Democratic Party will be “hurt more by rising gas prices.”
At the same time, a new McClatchy-Marist Poll shows an opening for Obama. While 11 percent blame Obama and Democrats (7 percent cite congressional Republicans), 36 percent say it’s volatility in the Middle East, and 34 percent say US oil companies are the culprits behind record prices at the pump.
Obama tried to hit the issue squarely in his radio and Internet address Saturday, tweaking Republicans and going straight for oil companies.
“Whenever gas prices shoot up, like clockwork, you see politicians racing to the cameras, waving three-point plans for two dollar gas,” Obama said. “You see people trying to grab headlines or score a few points. The truth is, there’s no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.”
Obama pointed to domestic oil production reaching its highest level since 2003. He noted his new Justice Department task force to root out fraud or manipulation in oil markets. And he repeated his push to end the $4 billion in annual federal subsidies of the oil and gas industries.