Poll Update: Gas Prices Could be a Dominant Issue in the General Election

May 15 2008 Published by under Featured News

A new Quinnipiac University poll released today revealed that 82% of those surveyed are dissatisfied with the direction that the nation is heading in. Voters in red, blue, and swing states all also agreed that the federal gas tax holiday proposed by Republican presidential candidate John McCain is a bad idea.
Eighty seven percent of all voters asked described the economy as not so good, or poor.

Voters were questioned about which economic issue worries them most 47% said rising gas prices, 16% said rising food prices, and 16% said rising healthcare costs. The concern over gas prices cuts across all party lines. 55% of those in red states, 44% in swing states, and 42% in blue listed it as their number one concern. Seventy one percent of all voters surveyed believe that the economy is in a recession.

When asked which presidential candidate would make the economy better, 37% said Hillary Clinton, 34% said Barack Obama, and only 20% selected John McCain. On the gas tax holiday, voters responded 49%-41% that it was a bad idea. Republicans slightly favored, Democrats slightly opposed it, but Independents rejected it as a bad idea by a 58%-36% margin.

Respondents thought the oil companies (35%), President Bush (23%), and the oil producing nations were to blame for the higher gas prices. What these poll results reveal is that voters are linking the bad economy with their pain at the pump.

Traditionally Republican candidates have always struggled in presidential elections where pocketbook issues dominate. Gas prices are a gigantic pocket book issue, and with voters already rejecting his gas tax holiday, I don’t see how McCain will be able to convince voters that he is the answer to their pain at the pump.

This is a good news/bad news issue for Barack Obama. The good news is that he can probably ride this issue to a victory in November. The bad news is that once he is president, people will be expecting him to make gas prices go down.

I think gas prices will once again fall once the United States ends its misadventure in Iraq. However, the long term solution is still to decrease consumption.

Full Poll Results:

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1178

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