2008 record      


Soaring prices at the pump are souring Americans on the economic recovery and hurting President Obama's re-election bid. More than a third told the IBD/TIPP poll that the issue would affect their vote in the fall.

"Most Americans do not give President Obama good grades for handling rising gasoline prices. Only 24% give him an A or B; 46% give him a D or F," said Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which conducted the poll.

Just 8% gave him an excellent grade on the issue; 32% said his actions are unacceptable.

Americans back drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 54%-38%, drilling in American territorial waters, 66%-25%, and hydraulic fracturing shale rock for crude in the Mountain West and elsewhere, 67%-22%.

Such numbers clearly have the White House worried. It conceded as much in a statement Monday: "Today's high gas prices are a painful reminder that there's much more work to do to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future."

The administration did note that domestic oil and natural gas production are at an eight-year high. Republicans counter that this is the Bush administration's work. Just last week the administration successfully lobbied Senate Democrats to filibuster a bill that would have opened the Keystone XL pipeline to America. That was the second time the White House has killed it.

In another cost-hiking move, Obama's EPA has imposed tough emissions regulations.

The White House's Monday statement even touted enacting "higher fuel economy standards," which at least in the short-term lift vehicle costs.

Regular unleaded averages $3.80 a gallon, up 30 cents in just a month, AAA reports. Economists have predicted it could near $5 this summer.

Over half of Americans polled (53.9%) think gas could top $4.50, with 31.7% seeing over $5.

In further bad news for Democrats, 56% believe that the government can act quickly to reduce prices in the short term.

The good news for Obama is that the public also casts a suspicious eye toward the energy industry itself. Fully 28% believe that oil companies are gouging consumers, while 18% blame commodity speculators. Democrats have often made such charges, despite numerous studies finding little evidence of that.

Mideast unrest was cited by 21% as higher gas prices' top cause.

As Karlyn Bowman, senior fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, notes, it's not the oil industry that is up for re-election.

"Drilling more seems to be the stronger emotion. This is a very difficult issue for the president," she said. "I also think that's why he has been talking a lot about it. He wants to reduce its potency."

Obama's overall ratings are rising. The IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index climbed 2.2 points to 50.8, the first reading above the neutral 50 level since February 2011. That reflects a jump in support among women.


IBD/TIPP Poll, Sample size = 875 adults nationwide, Conducted 3/4/12 - 3/11/12

Q:  I'd like you to rate President Obama's PERFORMANCE SO FAR on handling different issues. We'll use the familiar letter grading system from A through F, where A is Excellent, B is Good, C is Average, D is Poor and F is a failing grade.


8%   A=Excellent
16%  B=Good
23%  C=Average
14%  D=Poor
32%  F=Unacceptable
7%   (Not sure)

Q:  Moving on to our next topic...
Do you approve or disapprove of oil exploration and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska?

54%  Approve
38%  Disapprove
8%   (Don't read: Not sure)
0%   (Don't read: Refused)
Q:  Next, do you approve or disapprove of oil exploration and drilling in America's National Territorial Waters?

66%  Approve
25%  Disapprove
8%   (Don't read: Not sure)
0%   (Don't read: Refused)

Q:  Next, do you approve or disapprove oil exploration of Federal Shale Reserves in states like Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah?

67%  Approve
22%  Disapprove
11%  (Don't read: Not sure)
0%   (Don't read: Refused)

Q:  All things considered, how HIGH do you expect gasoline prices will reach over the NEXT 3 months?

0%     Below $3.00
0.2%   $3.00 to $3.24
0.5%   $3.25 to $3.49
2.5%   $3.50 to $3.74
3.1%   $3.75 to $3.99
22.5%  $4.00 to $4.24
10.8%  $4.25 to $4.49
15.6%  $4.50 to $4.74
6.7%   $4.75 to $4.99
23.0%  $5.00 to $5.24
2.0%   $5.25 to $5.49
1.5%   $5.50 to $5.74
1.7%   $5.75 to $6.00
2.0%   $6.00 to $6.24
0.1%   $6.25 to $6.49
0.3%   $6.50 to $7.00
1.0%   Over $7.00
6.4%   (Don't read: Not sure)
0.1%   (Don't read: Refused)
87.2%  Above $4
53.9%  Above $4.5
31.7%  Above $5.0
6.6%   Above $5.5
3.4%   Above $6.0

Q:  Next, please tell me the extent to which you agree or disagree with the following statements.
How about: The government can't do anything on the short-term to lower gasoline prices? Would you say...

18%  Strongly agree
24%  Somewhat agree
24%  Somewhat disagree
32%  Strongly disagree
2%   (Don't read: Not sure)
0%   (Don't read: Refused)

42%  AGREE

Q:  In your opinion, what factor is MOST RESPONSIBLE for rising gasoline prices today? Would you say...

13%  Lack of domestic oil production
21%  Unrest in the middle-east
28%  Price gouging by the oil industry
18%  Actions of speculators
4%   Actions of environmentalists
9%   Rise in fuel demand internationally
3%   (Don't read: Other)
4%   (Don't read: Not sure)
0%   (Don't read: Refused)

Q:  Whom do you MOST blame for rising prices? Would you say...

12%  The Obama administration
7%   Congress
28%  Oil industry
11%  OPEC
18%  Wall street Speculators
4%   Environmentalists
9%   Other countries
1%   (Don't read: No one)
3%   (Don't read: None of the above)
2%   (Don't read: Other)
4%   (Don't read: Not sure)
0%   (Don't read: Refused)

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