Little credit to the president for low gas prices

William JordanUS Elections Editor
November 18, 2014, 4:37 PM GMT+0

Now that gasoline costs less, fewer Republicans say the president has control over prices

Experts say the US government can do very little to control gasoline prices, which are determined by a global market, but that hasn’t stopped them from becoming a persistent political issue. Now that prices at the pump are the lowest they have been in years, it might be expected that politicians, and possibly the president, would try to take credit.

However, YouGov's research suggests less than half of Americans think the president has control over gas prices – and, if anything, they are even less likely to think he does when prices are lower.

With the national average price of a gallon of gasoline at less than $3 and dropping, only 40% of Americans now say the president ‘should be able to keep [gasoline prices] low’. 42% say gas prices are out of the president’s control and 18% don’t know. In comparison, 47% said the president bore responsibility for keeping prices down in February 2012, when gas was $3.70 a gallon and rising. 37% disagreed.

Most of the change comes from Republicans, who are now much less likely to say the president has control over prices. In February 2012, 73% of Republicans said the president should be able to keep prices low, and 17% said they were out of his control. Now, 51% pick the first option, and 33% pick the second.

Americans are much more inclined to say Congress wields power over the price at the pump. 48% say Congress should be able to keep gas prices low, while 32% say they are outside of the control of Congress. Here there is more bipartisan agreement, too – Democrats, Independents and Republicans all tend to say Congress has the power to influence gas prices.

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See the full results here