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Magazine / 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))

April 21, 2011

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.”

Congressional Republicans

“I hate to say it, but it does have the optics of them dragging the president to the table.”

“The Republicans successfully defined the goal of the budgetdebate as ‘cutting spending.’ The Democrats failed to position it as ‘creating jobs.’ ”


“It’s a mess. As Carnac, the Johnny Carson soothsayer, would say, ‘I see deadlock in our future.’ ”

“They’re [both] stinking up the place, and their polling numbers show it.”

“Lord knows, Ryan has given us plenty of running room. But the overall issues of spending/taxes combined with Obama’s—once again—late arrival on the scene makes this pretty much a draw
right now.”


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

Republicans (102 votes)

President Obama: 14%
Congressional Republicans: 63%
Neither: 24%

President Obama

“He can act unilaterally and swiftly without having to build a consensus, and the public still prefers there not be a government shutdown.”

“Office of the president is just bigger.”

“Obama has a slight upper hand; Republicans tend to look obstructionist, still.”

Congressional Republicans

“They are driving the issue; he is reacting. They are pleasing their base; he’s drifting to the center in a way that will not please his base.”

“Obama is now playing follower, not leader, and everyone is noticing.”

“President Obama has had to come into the GOP sandbox on spending.”

“The debt ceiling gives them unprecedented leverage.”

“Obama’s first pitch was bounced 6 feet in front of the plate.”

“The tax and [credit-resolution] deals both got done because Obama caved to the GOP position. He has to give in again, because he won’t get reelected promising another tax hike.”

“While far from perfect, they continue to be the only group talking about what independents care about—fiscal discipline and letting the private sector function and create jobs.”

“The president’s speech was a flop, and the campaign mode doesn’t help.”


“The GOP was defanged last week when it was shown that their own cut package was smoke and mirrors.”

“Republicans are going to win on the substance of cutting spending, but the president will have the political upper hand for his reelection by posing as the reasonable man in the middle.”

“The question is which plan is viewed by the public as better for creating jobs and growing the economy.”


Democratic Political Insiders Jill Alper, John Anzalone, Brad Bannon, Dave Beattie, Andy Bechhoefer, Cornell Belcher, Matt Bennett, Mitchell W. Berger, Mike Berman, Stephanie Bosh, Paul Brathwaite, Donna Brazile, Mark Brewer, Ed Bruley, George Bruno, Deb Callahan, Bonnie Campbell, Bill Carrick, Guy Cecil, Martin J. Chavez, Tony Coelho, Larry Cohen, Jerry Crawford, Brendan Daly, Jeff Danielson, Peter Daou, Howard Dean, Scott DeFife, Jim Demers, Tad Devine, David Di Martino, Debbie Dingell, Monica Dixon, Patrick Dorton, Pat Dujakovich, Anita Dunn, Jeff Eller, Steve Elmendorf, Carter Eskew, Vic Fazio, Peter Fenn, Scott Ferson, Jim Fleischmann, Tina Flournoy, Don Foley, Jeffrey Forbes, Vincent Frillici, Gina Glantz, Niles Godes, John Michael Gonzalez, Joe Grandmaison, Anna Greenberg, Stan Greenberg, Pat Griffin, Michael Gronstal, Lisa Grove, Marcia Hale, Jill Hanauer, Dick Harpootlian, Paul Harstad, Laura Hartigan, Doug Hattaway, Mike Henry, Karen Hicks, Leo Hindery Jr., Harold Ickes, Marcus Jadotte, John Jameson, Steve Jarding, Jonathon Jones, Jim Jordan, Gale Kaufman, Lisa Kountoupes, Celinda Lake, David Lang, Penny Lee, Chris Lehane, Jeff Link, Bob Maloney, Steve Marchand, Jim Margolis, Paul Maslin, Keith Mason, Susan McCue, Gerald McEntee, Tom McMahon, Phil McNamara, David Medina, Michael Meehan, Mark Mellman, John Merrigan, Steve Murphy, Janet Napolitano, David Nassar, Marcia Nichols, John Norris, Tom Ochs, Tom O’Donnell, Jeffrey Peck, Debora Pignatelli, Tony Podesta, Jack Quinn, Larry Rasky, Mame Reiley, Ed Rendell, Steve Ricchetti, Will Robinson, Steve Rosenthal, David Rudd, John Ryan, Michael Sargeant, Stephanie Schriock, Wendy Sherman, Terry Shumaker, Sean Sinclair, Phil Singer, Erik Smith, Doug Sosnik, Greg Speed, Darry Sragow, Ken Strasma, Katrina Swett, Doug Thornell, Jeffrey Trammell, Ed Turlington, Rick Wiener, James Williams, JoDee Winterhof, Brian Wolff, Jon Youngdahl, and Jim Zogby.

GOP Political Insiders Dan Allen, Stan Anderson, Gary Andres, Saulius (Saul) Anuzis, Rich Ashooh, Whit Ayres, Brett Bader, Mitch Bainwol, Gary Bauer, David Beckwith, Paul Bennecke, Clark Benson, Wayne Berman, Brian Bieron, Charlie Black, Kirk Blalock, Carmine Boal, Jeff Boeyink, Ron Bonjean, Jeff Buley, Luke Byars, Nick Calio, Al Cardenas, Danny Carroll, Ron Christie, Jim Cicconi, Rob Collins, Cesar Conda, Jake Corman, Scott Cottington, Greg Crist, Diane Crookham-Johnson, Fergus Cullen, Tom Davis, Mike Dennehy, Ken Duberstein, Steve Duprey, Debi Durham, Sara Fagen, Frank Fahrenkopf, John Feehery, Don Fierce, Mindy Finn, Mindy Fletcher, Carl Forti, Alex Gage, Bruce A. Gates, Sam Geduldig, Adam Geller, Benjamin Ginsberg, David Girard-diCarlo, Bill Greener, Jonathan Grella, Lanny Griffith, Janet Mullins Grissom, Doug Gross, Todd Harris, Steve Hart, Christopher Healy, Ralph Hellmann, Chris Henick, Terry Holt, David Iannelli, Ed Ingle, Clark Judge, David Keating, David Kensinger, Bob Kjellander, Ed Kutler, Chris LaCivita, Jim Lake, George S. LeMieux, Steve Lombardo, Kevin Madden, Joel Maiola, Gary Maloney, David Marin, Mary Matalin, Dan Mattoon, Brian McCormack, Mark McKinnon, Kyle McSlarrow, Ken Mehlman, Jim Merrill, Lisa Camooso Miller, Tim Morrison, Mike Murphy, Phil Musser, Ron Nehring, Terry Nelson, Neil Newhouse, David Norcross, Ziad Ojakli, Jack Oliver, Todd Olsen, Connie Partoyan, Dana Perino, Billy Piper, Van B. Poole, Tom Rath, Scott Reed, David Rehr, Tom Reynolds, Steve Roberts, Jason Roe, David Roederer, Dan Schnur, Russ Schriefer, Rich Schwarm, Brent Seaborn, Rick Shelby, Andrew Shore, Kevin Shuvalov, Don Sipple, Ken Spain, Fred Steeper, Bob Stevenson, Terry Sullivan, Eric Tanenblatt, Richard Temple, Heath Thompson, Jay Timmons, Warren Tompkins, Ted Van Der Meid, Dirk van Dongen, Jan van Lohuizen, Stewart Verdery, Dick Wadhams, John Weaver, Lezlee Westine, Tom Wilson, Dave Winston, Ginny Wolfe, and Fred Wszolek.

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