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Political Insiders Poll

Political Insiders Poll

The politics of high gas prices.


Rising gasoline prices, just ahead of the summer driving season, tend to be bad news for the political party in power.((Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images))

Which party is hurt more by rising gas prices?

Democrats (94 votes)

Democrats: 75%
Republicans: 17%


Also receiving votes: Both, 5%; the economy, 1%; incumbents, 1%; neither, 1%.


“High gas prices are damaging the economic recovery and screwing up the Democratic energy message.”


“The public doesn’t understand the complexity of gasoline pricing, but they feel the pain of it, so the president gets the blame.”

“Democrats are supposed to do something about it; Republicans are supposed to defend Big Oil. Democrats are not doing anything about it; therefore, Democrats lose.”

“Obama needs a healthy recovery more, and energy prices put pressure on the recovery, and there are no easy quick fixes.”

“When you watch those dollars drain out of your wallet and into
your tank, you blame the party in power.”


“Despite the eyes-averting first anniversary stories of the Gulf oil spill, the public is still convinced that the Democrats are standing in the way of tapping domestic resources to lessen dependence on foreign oil and the ability to lower fuel prices.”

“Obama owns the economy now for better or, as in this case, worse.”

“Unless we are able to do something, we are more at risk than Republicans who protect the oil companies.”


“They keep defending oil-company tax breaks while they make hundreds of billions in profits. It is impossible to justify.”

“Who killed the energy bill?”

“They have always been the party of Big Oil.”


“A pox on both parties, who, beginning in the 1970s, have been promising Americans ‘energy independence’ and not delivering.”


Which party is hurt more by rising gas prices?

Republicans (102 votes)

Democrats: 94%
Republicans: 6%


“Party that controls the White House gets the blame on gas prices.”

“Other than raiding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the Dems have no plan of action to immediately assuage voters’ pain at the pump, whereas the Republicans can reinvoke ‘drill, baby, drill.’ ”

“As the summer passes, these prices will hurt the president.”

“But only by a little. The real cost is in slowing the economy, which hurts an incumbent president.”

“Presidents own these problems, and his intervention in Libya and opposition to offshore drilling create a compelling narrative.”

“No big partisan advantage here, but to the extent that Dems are seen as owning the ostensible causes—foreign affairs, lack of domestic production—they’ll bear a disproportionate share of the blame.”

“Democrats, since public will look to Obama for answers and will be disappointed.”

“The party of ‘no’ on energy exploration and drilling: Consumers understand limited supply equals higher prices.”

“Haley Barbour is already hanging energy inflation around Obama’s neck. Quotes by Obama and his Energy secretary praising higher gas prices are devastating.”

“With no plan to increase domestic oil and gas supply, and extremists to cater to, the Democrats own the issue of higher gas prices.”

“Those windmills aren’t producing enough gas!”


“Makes you hate Big Business.”

“The Republicans are inextricably linked to Big Business and Big Oil.”


Who do you think has the upper hand right now in the budget debate?

Democrats (94 votes)

President Obama: 57%
Congressional Republicans: 15%
Neither: 28%

President Obama

“He presented a balanced, comprehensive plan that has spending cuts and a tax increase that a majority of Americans, including independents, support.”

“The plot to kill Medicare means that Democrats will have home-court advantage all through the 2012 election. Thank you, Rep. [Paul] Ryan.”

“When you have rock-ribbed Senate Republicans wincing at the Ryan bill, you know that’s not good for them.”

“It’s easier to sell tax increases on Goldman Sachs folk than Medicare cuts on grandma.”

“Obama is communicating with swing voters, and the House Republicans are communicating to their base.”

“The question for Democrats is whether he will work to keep it. The Ryan budget is a gift that should keep giving to Democrats through Election Day 2012.”

“One party is for Medicare; one party is not. I’ll take Obama’s position and double down.”

This article appears in the April 23, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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