Americans approve of releasing oil from the strategic reserve, but will it lower gas prices?

Linley SandersData Journalist
April 06, 2022, 7:33 PM GMT+0

Last week, President Joe Biden announced the release of oil from the U.S. strategic reserve, in an attempt to help increase the nation’s gasoline supply and reduce high gas prices. The latest Economist/YouGov poll indicates that the decision is quite popular. A majority of Americans, and more than a third of Republicans, approve. Democrats overwhelmingly support the decision, and more Independents approve of it than don’t.

But will the release of oil reserves successfully lower prices at the gas pump? Maybe not. Only 27% of Americans believe this action will lower gas prices. That includes just 41% of people who approve of Biden’s decision to release oil from the strategic reserves. Americans who disapprove of the oil release are much less likely (11%) to believe the action will lower gas prices. Democrats are more optimistic than Independents and Republicans that releasing oil from the strategic reserve will have its intended impact.

In addition to high gas prices, Biden faces broader challenges on the state of the economy. The health of the U.S. economy is often measured by either inflation and prices or by the share of Americans who are unemployed. This week, a majority of Americans (55%) say inflation is a bigger problem than unemployment, while just6% say unemployment is the bigger problem. Three in 10 Americans (31%) say both are equally important.

Half of Americans this week (51%) say that the economy is getting worse, a proportion that has remained steady in recent weeks. Three-quarters of Republicans (76%) say the economy is worsening, as do most Independents (58%). One-quarter of Democrats (24%) agree; more say the economy is about the same (32%) or improving (34%).

President Biden is still earning low marks when it comes to how he’s handling the nation’s jobs and economy: 42% of Americans approve, and 47% do not. Democrats are, again, much more likely than Republicans and Independents to approve of Biden’s actions on the economy.

Biden’s approval rating for his overall job performance also is underwater: 41% approve, while 50% do not.

— Carl Bialik and Taylor Orth contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on April 2 - 5, 2022, among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll

Image: Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels