Poll: Public Backs Obama Over GOP On Gas Prices, 66% Blame Big Oil Or Mideast Tension for Price Spike

A new poll finds that the public supports President Obama over Congressional Republicans on gas prices. The National Journal survey shows that 44% of respondents trust the President “to make the right decisions to help bring down the price of gasoline,” against 32% for the Congressional GOP.

We’ve previously reported that both Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and Koch-fueled Cato Institute agree: “It’s Not Obama’s Fault That Crude Oil Prices Have Increased.” The poll found the public shares that assessment:

When asked what the main reason behind the price increase was, some 38 percent laid the blame on “the manipulation of prices by large energy companies.” Twenty-eight percent cited “tension in the Middle East, particularly over Iran and nuclear weapons.” Well down the list were “the policies of President Obama” (14 percent) and “the policies of congressional Republicans” (5 percent).

These findings are particularly impressive because conservatives and GOP presidential candidates have been bashing Obama almost nonstop on this issue, trying to blame the President for high oil prices.

What the president can do is reduce the oil intensity of the economy, the amount of oil consumed per dollar of GDP, which is the true measure of how vulnerable the economy is to the price spikes and generally rising prices that are inevitable as we approach peak oil production. Obama has been pursuing such policies, which include his aggressive fuel economy standards and investing in clean energy alternatives.

And even in the face of rising gasoline prices, the public still supports Obama’s approach, as the poll found:

Americans put somewhat more stock in the Democrats’ policy of conservation and development of alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar power, than they do in the Republicans’ emphasis on greater domestic production of oil and gas. Fifty percent of respondents said that the Democratic approach “would do more to lower fuel prices,” while 42 percent went with the GOP approach.

In related news, the Washington Post fact-checker gives 3 Pinocchios to the GOP claim that Obama wanted higher oil prices. Also, Gallup reports that “U.S. economic confidence improved sharply” last week to “the highest weekly levels Gallup has recorded since it started tracking confidence daily in January 2008.” Finally, the WashPost notes of its recent poll:

At the moment, 63 percent of Americans say that gas prices are causing them financial hardship, with 36 percent saying the gas squeeze is causing “serious” financial hardship. (See Question 11.) But those are actually the lowest hardship numbers since May of 2008 — and, in fact, it’s virtually identical to what Americans were saying in May of 2004, six months before George W. Bush won re-election.


24 Responses to Poll: Public Backs Obama Over GOP On Gas Prices, 66% Blame Big Oil Or Mideast Tension for Price Spike

  1. After listening to as much of the Republican debates as I can take, I think that Newt’s $2.50 gasoline demands a new theme song: The Great Pretender.

    It matches this college teacher, Congressional leader, author railing about “the elites” as if he did not think himself one as well.

  2. Gestur says:

    Let me beat Mike Roddy to the punch here (a rare day indeed) and say: That’s precisely the problem. We cannot blame or credit Obama for an increase in the price of gasoline. Or of natural gas. Or of coal. Or of aviation fuel. Or … the list is unfortunately a very long one.

  3. AlaninAZ says:

    I find no comfort in either the Obama position or the Republican positition. In truth, the US has not been reducing total C02 emissions except in the period since 2008 which was due the the global economic meltdown. Projections for total CO2 emissions post 2010 are very flat. Fossil fuels will remain the preferred energy source until some sort of disincentive is placed on their use. I prefer the fee and dividend approach but at present there is absolutely no political dialogue on this issue.

  4. Leif says:

    My life time efforts to lower my consumption of energy, coupled with my new investment in Solar PV, pays me enough to power all my home electrical needs as well as all my gas consumption for my Honda Fit! Admittedly that requires a production credit from the tax payer, (also paid to ecocidal fossil industey you may recall), but the up side is that incentive lowered the price for early Solar PV installers which in turn helped to lower the cost of equivalent installations for others ~4% in just one year. It employed local labor and used local products. I spend that money in my local economy! I do not whisk those $$$ out to Swiss tax free bank acc. My power is green except for the gas I consume, but “green” pays for that. (Offer me an affordable electric and I will go there in a heart beat.) Yes it was a $25k investment but look what it does for me, ~9+% RoI for the next 8 years and it sits in my back yard! I can fondle it. What does Wall Street do for your investment? Double the price of energy will also double the value of my investment. Bring it on!

    Take the profits out of Pollution. NOW!

  5. BillD says:

    I’m glad that a majority of Americans are smart enough and well-enough informed to figure this out. This survey contrasts with another survey giving Obama low ratings for “taking care of the economy” where “high gasoline prices” were considered the main reason for the low rating.

  6. Mymy says:

    The Koch Brothers: “Curses! Foiled Again!”

  7. Chris Lines says:

    At the moment, 63 percent of Americans say that gas prices are causing them financial hardship, with 36 percent saying the gas squeeze is causing “serious” financial hardship. I WANT TO KNOW HOW MANY OF THESE PEOPLE SUFFERING ‘FINANCIAL HARDSHIP’ ARE DRIVING SUV’S, WALKING AROUND IN THE NEW $200 NIKE SHOES, ARE NOT ON PUBLIC ASSISTANCE.

  8. Ken Barrows says:

    How about blaming high gas prices on the Federal Reserve? There sure seems to be a high correlation between equity prices and WTI the last three years.

  9. Marie says:

    Reporters bring their cameramen and ask the drivers leading questions regarding the cost of gas — considering that, I am surprised that a majority of Americans still believe that the cost is driven by forces other than domestic.
    Republican candidates are blaming President Obama on a daily basis, and claiming they can bring the price down to $2.50. (miraculously, I suppose.)
    The president and his spokesmen must be out there every day explaining these matters to the public and hope that they can be heard above the din. Sadly, I don’t see many Democrats or White House spokesmen on the evening news, where the focus is predominantly on the Republican party — for one reason or other, they dominate.

  10. LJL says:

    Peak Oil is an elusive event that the numbers may say is certainly out there. But the news of fracking, arctic oil, and new fields being discovered seemingly everywhere makes Peak Oil recede into the distant future. There are better reasons to cut down on oil consumption than fear of Peak Oil. For example the lazy reliance on petroleum hinders scientific search for more efficient and elegant solutions to the mechanical world, and it harms the environment.

  11. facts lean left says:

    Chris Lines, that’s none of your business. Do you really think lowering our standard of living is going to solve the problem? Is that what America is to become, a third-world backwater with electricity 6 hours a day and dirt roads?

    this is about Republican, corporate greed, which must be reigned in by the American voters.

  12. Mark says:

    The oil is owned by the state.

    The state must demand that the extractors invest a percentage of the proceeds in renewable energy.

  13. Mark says:

    from “The Energy Collective”

    ” The oil industry as a whole has spent at least fifty (50x) times in producing more dirtier fuels sources such as tar sands than their entire global investments in producing renewable fuels. I note that this does not include oil industry investments in other dirtier fuel sources such as oil shale, extra-heavy oil, and coal to liquids.

    Breaking it down on a global basis: the oil industry’s investment over the past five years amounted to

    $2090 billion in capital expenditures to find and produce more oil, of which
    $190 billion went to producing dirtier tar sands
    $4 billion in renewable fuels”

  14. Wally says:

    Oil prices are being manipulated, according to the author of the article below.

  15. Theresa Pickel says:

    Why don’t they show this on the cable and national news? All they show on there are polls that blame Obama for the high gas prices.

  16. The Oracle says:

    What caused oil barrel and gasoline prices to plummet in late 2008, with gasoline prices dropping below $2.00 a gallon, almost approaching what gasoline prices were when oilman GW Bush was sworn-in as president in January 2001? Did this precipitous 2008 drop occur due to a surge in supply or a drop in demand, that is, an abrupt downward shift in oil market “supply and demand” factors? No.

    The 2008 financial crisis essentially placed “limits” on oil futures trading. The oil futures speculators on Wall Street and elsewhere were heavily invested in the “housing bubble” and when this finally burst their oil futures speculative activities also burst as the overall market contracted severely. Ergo, unintentional, collateral “limits” were placed on their speculative “manipulation of prices” on the world oil market and at the gas pump.

    The Dodd-Frank bill contains a provision placing “limits” on oil futures speculation, a provision ordering the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to restrict excessive gasoline-price-spiking speculation, but conservatives on the CFTC have refused for two years to implement this federally-mandated provision, slow-walking it, trying to water it down. The Bush-packed CFTC was also missing-in-action during the last record-breaking 2008 oil barrel and gasoline price spike.

    Drilling for more oil won’t bring down prices at the pump this year. Switching to alternative, renewable energy sources won’t bring down prices this year. Wishing that the oil futures speculators will suddenly get a conscience and self-regulate by placing “limits” on their oil futures gambling activities won’t bring down prices this year. Blaming President Obama (or demanding that he release oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve) won’t bring down prices at the pump this year.

    Only by the CFTC placing federally-mandated “limits” on oil futures speculation will prices at the pump go down this year, a repeat of 2008 when prices at the pump plummeted the last time. The CFTC placing these “limits” is the easy path, because the alternative to this is another global financial crisis (like in 2008) forcing down oil barrel and gasoline prices as all trading, all cash flow takes a hit. I really prefer the first course of action, not the latter, which apparently the Republicans and oil futures speculators what to happen again. Are they nuts?

  17. Rodney Hytonen says:


    Ignoring the preposterously illiterate clause disagreement of this nonsensical …question? I would ask what more this has to do with the price of oil than the absolute -0- the President, party, congress or or politics has to do with it.

    Of course pulling a completely irrelevant (but telling) reverse class hatred of the poor out into the open, probably explains even more than the illiteracy.

    I may not be an economic expert, but people like that poster are better still.

  18. Philosophical_Paradox says:

    What about the value of the dollar? This is what happens when federal government chooses to spend beyond their means and offset the backlash with “bailouts” and printing more money. Welcome to the New America.

  19. ChristianP says:


    The super is not very expensive in the United States. In France one gallon = 8 $
    (for 1.62 €/liter, it’s an average in France, but in Paris, the price max is 2.02 €/liter this morning), so we use a lot of efficient cars.

  20. deke4 says:

    One thing puzzles me. I can understand the price of gas going up if the price of buying, processing and delivery of gas goes up. What I find puzzling is why the profits of oil companies increase enormopusly every quarter? You would think the profit margin would stay relatively stable. Could some erstwhile economist or oil executive explain this enigma?

  21. J. Greenburg says:

    Still trying to follow the logic of blaming Obama for high gas prices. If he has the ability to control them, then every other president had that ability, when means we would never have high gas prices. Right now US oil demand is down and supply is up which means gas prices should be down, right? Wrong. Financial oil experts say that wall street speculators drive up the cost of oil by 30% to over 50%.

  22. Kevin Schmidt says:

    Both the Democrats and the Republicans have merged into the Democratic-Republican Party, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Gilded Fascist Elite,Ltd.

    You can blame the oil wars and the high price of gas on BOTH major Fascist political parties, which includes pResident Obusha.

  23. pedro john says:

    1.Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and Koch-Fueled Cato Agree: “It’s Not Obama’s Fault That Crude Oil Prices Have Increased”

  24. Avera says:

    Mark I am afraid you are right. And if we had a real organized democracy we would be poised to vote GREEN as a nation….and never ever look back.