(Week of 4/14/2012) Rising gasoline prices continue to weigh heavily on many Americans: in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, more than three-quarters say that the cost of gasoline is a serious problem for themselves and their families, and 46%—nearly half—say it is a very serious problem.
Worries about the price of gas aren’t new. Back in February, just about the same percentage of Americans said their families were affected by high gas prices. And the impact is greatest on those who can least afford it: those with the lowest incomes are most likely to consider rising gas prices a serious problem for their families. But so do Republicans, 54% of whom also consider it to be a very serious problem.
Most think the problem will get worse. 74% expect gas prices will rise above $5.00 a gallon by the summer.
The oil companies and foreign oil producers are most likely to get the blame for high prices. But high demand and low supply are also seen as factors by most Americans. There is a partisan cast in the answers on how much to blame the current Administration and the Republicans in Congress. And most Republicans claim environmental regulations also are very much responsible for high gas prices.
As for the President himself, the public is divided on whether he can do much about gas prices. 43% think he can; 41% think it’s something beyond his control. Americans are more closely divided on this than they were in February, when even more thought he could do something about it than did not.
Republicans and Democrats are not so conflicted, however. A majority of Republicans say the (Democratic) President can do something about high gas prices; a majority of Democrats say that’s beyond a president’s control.
Photo source: Press Association