CNN Poll: Americans increasingly worried about gas prices
March 29th, 2012
11:48 AM ET
3 years ago

CNN Poll: Americans increasingly worried about gas prices

(CNN) - The number of Americans who said gasoline prices are the most important economic problem facing the country has more than tripled since December, according to a new poll.

The CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday, the same day President Barack Obama delivered a speech about gas prices, indicated oil companies received most of the blame for higher prices at the pump.

Full results (pdf)

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Seven in ten Americans said rising prices have caused hardship for them and their families, with nearly half saying the prices will rise to five dollars a gallon some time this year.

The current average price for a normal gallon of gas nationally stands at $3.921, according to the latest figures from AAA.

Obama addressed gas prices during a speech ahead of a procedural Senate vote expected Thursday on a bill to repeal tax subsidies for oil companies.

The president reiterated his support for rolling back tax breaks for the companies, something critics argue would only increase gas prices.

However, the political fallout from rising prices might be limited, according to the latest poll.

Most Americans blamed the oil companies, not the Obama administration, for the prices. Republicans in Congress received a similar level of blame to the White House. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed blamed the oil companies a great deal for the recent increase, while 24% said the same of Obama and 21% said the same of Congressional Republicans.

Foreign countries that produce oil also received more blame than American politicians of either party.

Twenty percent of all Americans said gas prices are the No. 1 economic issue currently facing the country; up from 6% of those surveyed who said the same in December, when gas prices were lower on average.

"That 14-point increase is mirrored by the 14-point drop in the number who say that unemployment is the top economic issue, indicating that many Americans who were once concerned about the possibility of losing their jobs are more directly affected by the reality of higher gas prices," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.

But Americans may not be ready to push the panic button quite yet. Although 71% said higher gas prices have caused hardships for them, only 23% said it was severe enough to jeopardize their current standard of living. Half of those surveyed said gas prices created a moderate hardship that has not yet affected their living situation.

The poll, conducted for CNN by ORC International, surveyed 1,014 American adults by telephone between March 24 and March 25 with a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Obama is anti-fossil fuel, pure and simple. Anything to do with oil and oil companies is automatically bad and something to be attacked, stopped or destroyed. Problem is our WHOLE ECONOMY is driven by oil! Obama's bad decisions over the last 3 years will be haunting this country for years down the road. Yet another IED Obama and Democrats have buried in the road for his replacement to step on and then get blamed for. It's the Demorcats classic mode of operation.

    March 29, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    Summer is around the corner and prices will definitely reach $5.

    March 29, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. MTATL67

    Since gas prices first starting going up. I have heard every argument from its President Obama’s fault to sun flares. I have come to one huge simple truth. We want lower gas prices we need to just get off fossil fuels PERIOD.

    March 29, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. shoegazer

    Folks,the President has absolutely no say in where gas prices go.

    March 29, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Marie MD

    Maybe it's past time that we started buying smaller more efficient cars and get rid mod the gas guzzling SUVs and hummers.
    Congress should go after the oil companies who are the real culprits but that would mean less campaign money from the gasoline people and I really mean people=corporations people.

    March 29, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. J Russ

    Oil is sold in US dollars, this administration has drastically devalued the dollar, oil prices are up.

    March 29, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    shoegazer
    Folks,the President has absolutely no say in where gas prices go.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    Not exactly correct, gazer. His policies do have a strong impact on the value of the dollar and the lower the value of the dollar is, the less it buys, especially products that are not produced and consumed primarily here in the US.

    What drives the value of the dollar down? Government debt, interest rate policies and tax policies, none of which take Obama off the hook for the price of gas.

    March 29, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. MWM

    In my area those complaining loudest about gas prices are those who drive the biggest gas hogs to carry only one person. The only thing these geese are doing about the problem is squawk.

    March 29, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Oil is a world commodity and most of the world pays substantially more than the US for a gallon of gas! Duh! We're drilling more now than ever during the Bush Administration. It's not about domestic production. The oil we find here isn't even necessarily used for the US market. It's a WORLD COMMODITY!

    Just think... Who would gain from speculation to drive up the prices? First of all oil companies will make even larger profits. What about speculators? Could it be that the fat-cats who want their Republican flunkies in office might be tempted to enrich the futures for oil just prior to the election? Who else has the capital to actually influence the market?

    To give subsidies to mega-oil companies is beyond foolish. It shows what lackies the Republicans have become to these fat-cats.

    March 29, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Dave

    Here is the real deal about the Keystone pipeline. The Prez is fightin tooth & nail to have ALL that supply stay in THIS country. THis is an ABSOLUTE matter of national security. These Rebubs are being SEVERLY non patriotic & non American for fighting this. THIS SUPPLY NEEDS TO STAY IN AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!! & the safety of the drinking water around this is also imperitive. I gaurantee the GOP is against all LEGAL SUITS if there is contamanation aroud this in the drinking water if ever a burst or leak. Again this is a matter of national security. IT STAY IN THE US, Gop, stop your lian, backstabbing made up BULL & lets work together to make this SAFE & AMERICAN only!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 29, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Brandon

    @ Truth and Nothing But the Truth,

    Kind of like the whole field of "IEDs" and "Land Mines" that Bush put in place before President Obama was elected. The ones that continue to cause casualties as the President is trying to clear the fields. Luckily for the country the President is having some success even though the Republicans keep trying to place more by the road.

    March 29, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Fair is Fair

    "Oil is a world commodity and most of the world pays substantially more than the US for a gallon of gas! Duh! "
    --------
    The "world" does pay more. Know why? The "world" TAXES gas at a much higher rate. Know what they do with those taxes? Fund their social programs, for the most part. Now certainly we could do that in this country, right? Of course we could. But the liberals in this country would have a hissy fit saying that would be "regressive" and hit the poorest among us the hardest. You just can't have it both ways.

    March 29, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. demwit

    YEAH!!! That should stop them from spewing all that CO2 into the air!!!

    March 29, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    Marie MD
    Maybe it's past time that we started buying smaller more efficient cars and get rid mod the gas guzzling SUVs and hummers.
    Congress should go after the oil companies who are the real culprits but that would mean less campaign money from the gasoline people and I really mean people=corporations people.
    _________________________________________________________________________________________
    Marie, I have to agree with you about the gas guzzlers. It's amazing how many people still buy these.

    But what have the oil companies done wrong? Culprits as you say? For what, making too much profit? Do you share the same hate for software and internet businesses? How about Apple? Do you hate Apple?

    March 29, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. demwit

    Its like Obama said 4 years ago when ask about more drilling. "It will be at least 5 years before we see any of this oil on the market" And he was right! Oh.., wait a minute.

    March 29, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. rightytighty

    If more oll doesn't decrease the global market price then why are we paying American farmers to keep them from growing more corn and wheat for the global market??

    March 29, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. jdun

    Do you think that Americans will not buy any lottery tickets for this week's mega millions drawing in order to afford gas? Will they give up smoking to save $8 a pack on cigarettes or not buy that 30 pack of beer for the weekend? Will they trade in their gas hog for a car that gets over 30 miles a gallon? Will they give up bottled water or make their coffee at home? Will Americans begin car pooling? I see the car pooling lanes nearly empty each morning as individual drivers in their individual cars go to work. I don't get the sense of hardship when people can't change their habits, I just hear complaining. Reminds me of the woman who just bought a $35,000 car that was loaded with every extra possible and was complaining that the price of potato chips went up 10 cents a bag. Spoiled Americans.

    March 29, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. B

    You can All thank the Republicans as they are working this together to no ones surprise.

    The Republicans plus the Oil Companies amounts to the same thing, bad news for American working people !

    Romney would just continue Bush’s policies for the mega rich like himself.

    Wakeup America -

    March 29, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. Voice of Reason

    It's still like half the price of gas in Europe. Time to start carpooling, using public transit, walking, or telecommuting. And time for our goverment to start getting serious about alternatives, NOT throwing away tax money on subsidies for the richest companies in the world. Companies like EXXON Mobile, who are working day and night to fight to keep us on oil. And to keep us using more and more of it.

    The billions they have spent on lobbying to keep efficiency standards down, and to prevent public transit projects were provided by you and me – the tax payers – with the complicity of the GOP and thier short-sighted oil-loving philosophies (drill baby drill...)

    March 29, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Dave

    Hi CNN Please do a story on who is trying or contracting to OUTSOURCE this oil, I guarantee it aint The Prez. Again, this is a National Security situation, no not cause we are whineing about paying europe prices, bot that of which we are feeding our tererist BILLIONS & BILLIONS to get supply from them only in return make this a less safer Country. PLEASE, PLEASE find out whomever is behind sealing the deal on Keystone that lining their pockets with Boatloads of cash from OUTSOURCING it when it comes down from Canada. There is goota be some Real Journalist with major backbone to get all up in this & THROW THESE OIL COs & crocket POLITICIANS UNDER THE BUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 29, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "CNN Poll: Americans increasingly worried about gas prices"

    All that means is that CNN and he rest of the MSM will now spend a whole lot more time talking about gas priecs. Nothing helps sell advertising time/space like fear, anger and confusion. We can also expect more nonsense from the GOP/Teatroll, who will no doubt do more yammering about how the pipeline that the GOP killed would have magically prevented high gas prices right now, etc.

    March 29, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. Voice of Reason

    @truth:
    Riddle me this – If the problem is that our entire economy is driven by oil, then why wouldnt ANY rational president (D or R) spend every waking hour trying to get us OFF oil, and on to something else! Or would you rather that the entire American economy hinged on a bunch of sheiks in some foreign desert who hate all of western civilization, and would revel in the idea of our enslavement to the one commodity they have the most of?

    Unfortunately, the Republicans in Congress have shown that they are more willing to give oil companies a tax break and let them continue to find more oil (here and abroad), so we can perpetuate this problem for maybe another generation (at most), and truly leave the American people holding the bag when the oil finally does run out.

    The better answer is to get Americans OFF OIL for good. In the last week, I saw the president standing in front of acres of solar panels talking about exactly this – and i saw the GOP voting to continue funding American's addiction, and do it by subsidizing the richest companies in the world with our (yours and mine) tax dollars.

    March 29, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "The "world" does pay more. Know why? The "world" TAXES gas at a much higher rate. Know what they do with those taxes? Fund their social programs, for the most part. Now certainly we could do that in this country, right? Of course we could. But the liberals in this country would have a hissy fit saying that would be "regressive" and hit the poorest among us the hardest. You just can't have it both ways."

    What's hard to understand about the mechanics that make a tax "regressive"? That would indeed be regressive...extremely so. Neither I nor "liberals" came up with the definition of what makes a tax "regressive." Howl at the moon much?

    March 29, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Natalie

    And please tell me why, when they are the most profitable ever, the GOP still champions tax breaks for big oil?

    March 29, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Obama's bad decisions over the last 3 years will be haunting this country for years down the road. "

    I assume you're referring to the FACTS that domestic oil production is up significantly under Obama while oil imports are down? Or was that meant as a reference to the oil pipeline the GOP/Teatrolls killed on purpose by trying to force the deadline for the review process to be moved up just so they could try to pin the project's rejection on Obama?

    March 29, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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