Gasoline Prices & Presidential Approval

Lots of polling data out this week: Here are few separate charts of Presidential Approval rating of key polls (composite);  Prez Approval inapposite to gasoline; And then an inverse gas chart:


WSJ Composite Major PollsWsj_poll

Source: WSJ/NBC


If this was a stock, I’d advise management to revisit whatever they did in Q3 2001, and Q1 2003.  (Uh-oh.  Perhaps that explains the saber rattling versus Iran).

The next chart comes to us via Paul Kedrosky’s Infectious Greed:  Paul notes that "inverse relation between retail gas prices and President Bush’s approval ratings is worth pondering."

Bush Approval and Gasoline Prices

Hardly spurious, Paul — gas prices generate a visceral reaction, and the public wants to blame someone — either the oil companies or the President.  (Hey, do you think all those SUVs you fat bastards are driving have anything to do with it?)

Lastly, have a look at this chart, which inverts gasoline prices.   


via Professor Pollkatz


There is clearly a correlation — is it causative, or are the same underlying factors driving both issues? I tihnk it may some of both . . .

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. alex commented on Apr 28

    the good thing with high gas/oil prices are: low bush approval, big oil gets a bashing, and people get economic incentive to switch to more fuel efficient car and use less energy in general, or make better use of it. It’s all we need!! Imagine how hard it would be to get economic incetive program through congress if it would come from environmental side. Now we send the $ to the mideast, to Chavez and others and spend in addition trillions for a useless war…but low bush approval rating might change that, too…there is hope!

  2. Andrew commented on Apr 28

    Wow. The gas prices don’t just correlate, it looks like for the most part they’re a leading indicator of presidential approval ratings. The question, of course, is what will happen when we all get those hundred dollar checks in the mail.

  3. rob commented on Apr 28

    Bush invades IRAQ, oil goes from 25$ to 75$. Bush invades IRAQ, IRAN goes for nuclear weapons to defend itself, oil goes from, well you get it. When I think how high this market would be if this guy never existed it blows me away. Add in the crazed government spending, this guy is a disaster.

  4. jim commented on Apr 28

    Bush a disaster? Merely calling him a disaster is almost a compliment. He makes LBJ look good.

  5. Isaac Greten commented on Apr 28

    So. . . if I can convince a bunch of people to like Bush, gas prices will go down???

  6. rob commented on Apr 28

    what was the real goal of 9/11. to create an event that would drive the only real weapon the middle east has against the west,oil. these guys knew that the attack would draw Bush into the area and drive oil permently upward. they played dubya like a fiddle.

  7. Fred commented on Apr 28

    Do I sense a longing for the days of Jimmy Carter? Some of his policies seem to be back in vogue with people who have forgotten what they meant in practice.

  8. marty commented on Apr 28

    Dear Fred:

    Paul Volker killed both Jimmy Carter and Inflation. If we had listened to alternative fuel rhetoric from Carter we wouldnt be “hooked on oil”, stuck in Iraq, supply side deficits, and an energy policy that provided good clean growth jobs.

    we might even be like germay who makes and sells cars without blaming their woes on asia.

    Carter told the truth and got creamed for it. It looks to me like americans need someone to lie to them about something other than war…say, for example…there really is a santa!!!


  9. muckdog commented on Apr 28

    The solutions for higher energy prices are pretty obvious. In the short term, conservation, more oil (ANWR, coastal and inland drilling), more coal, more nuclear power, more refineries, and a long-term plan to create alternative fuels.

    But nobody seems interested. Kind of strange.

  10. econjohn commented on Apr 28

    So. . . if I can convince a bunch of people to like Bush, gas prices will go down???


    When I think how high this market would be if this guy never existed it blows me away. Add in the crazed government spending, this guy is a disaster.

    nicely and succinctly put.

    In the short term, conservation, more oil (ANWR, coastal and inland drilling), more coal, more nuclear power, more refineries

    none of these are particularly short term, are they? i mean, not that alternative fuels are either, but these are all a decade away from helping much, no?

  11. jim commented on Apr 28

    Stox.. a photo of you must surely be in Webster’s dictionary under clueless.

  12. GreenGOP commented on Apr 28

    We live in a ‘it’s not my fault’ society these days, brought on by the greediest of them all – trial lawyers, supported by Dems in Congress. High gas prices? Somebody else’s fault. Right – must be Bush! America’s demand for energy is insatiable. We are all responsible, and we all need to admit it, and do our small part to fix it. Government can’t do it alone, no matter who’s in office.

  13. Guy2K commented on Apr 28

    Interestingly, he also suffered a big decline in popularity while gas prices remain mostly constant.

  14. drey commented on Apr 29

    I get so much from this blog. I mean, had it not been for the previous post from ‘GreenGOP’ I might never have realized that Democrats and trial lawyers are responsible for our energy problems…how can I put this nicely? You’re an idiot. Surprised you turned off Rush Limbaugh long enough to surf the web…

    Government can’t do it alone, but they CAN get out of the way and stop subsidizing the wrong behavior, and occasionally show a bit of real leadership which may necessitate the adoption of an unpopular position in the short term for the greater long term good. Not that the Dems are any better, but let’s start with some accountability for the jokers who control the White House and both houses of congress…

    Glad I got that off my chest. Gotta go check the mailbox for my $100 rebate now.

  15. __earth commented on Apr 29

    Nah. It’s always Bush’s fault and Al Gore still invented the internet.

  16. Lord commented on Apr 29

    Gas is cheap. If it were expensive, there wouldn’t be that many vehicles on the road. It could double this summer and still be cheap. Complaining is so much more satisfying than doing anything about it.

  17. calmo commented on Apr 29

    Lord is right: many vehicles on the road esp SUVs, all stopping at red lights and stop signs as if they couldn’t give a hoot about gas mileage.
    They have heard from Danish Dirk that he pays $7/gal so they’ve quit snivelling. Not like some others.
    I can hardly wait for W’s next hot tips on fuel economy: pick up the groceries every 2 weeks; make friends with your neighbor (that jerk) and try car pooling; biking is good for your mental acuity no matter what you think of the president; work an extra 2 hours a day to avoid going in on Friday; no driving on the Weekend unless absolutely necessary;
    Real men make adjustments, others whine.

  18. Bob H commented on Apr 30

    Good to know that record uses of oil by China and India have nothing to do with crude prices according to this blog. That is good, because in this fairy tale when China surpasses the US in GNP, that huge increase in oil usage won’t matter. Whew!

  19. Crack commented on May 1

    I think that the relationship is correlative, but it isn’t casual. I don’t think care all that much about the price of gas, but the increase coupled with their stagnant wages increases their general level of distress.

    If this is the case talking about lowering gas prices will be useless, but lower gas prices will cause at least a stabilization of opinion.

  20. Louis commented on Jul 24

    Bush has nothing to do with the decision making on how gas prices rise or decrease. Specifically it’s the Oil Companies in the Middle East that decide to up the prices per barrel of oil. Now, this may be due to Bush invading Iraq and it may not. If we did not invade Iraq Saddam would still be at large as we speak and would be terrorizing the world. Also, I believe that Iraq and Iran are both afraid of what North Korea might do next so they are raising prices as a way of stocking up for the future. You can’t blaim a country for defending itself. However, Bush has officials looking into the market attempting cheating gas prices in the U.S.


    BR: I don’t even know where to begin with this comment. This is a 4 month old post, and your comments should have been written in crayon.

    Too Troll like for me — your banned

  21. NEO CON commented on Sep 19


  22. Miggers commented on Oct 22

    There are certainly a lot of naive people that think the probability of gas prices falling right before an election not once but twice which including the amount they fell is about 3.5 billion to one is just a mere coincidence. It’s no more a coincidence than the bin Laden family being flown out of MA on a private jet charter when air travel was grounded. Oh yes a conspiracy theory-save that one for Bush’s Saudi buddies! As far as sugar prices go consider these are all tied to energy Einstein! And indecently Carter had a larger drop in unemployment than Ronald Reagan. As a matter of fact his record was twice the unemployment drop Reagan had in just four years. (see BLS.GOV) Furthermore the gas crisis occurred under Nixon and Ford not Carter. So get with the program and learn how to read and interpret data. Did you all forget Bush and his daddy sat on the corporate board of a Saudi oil company? OMG is this news? Well my suggestion is that is the GOP holds control of the Senate buy oil futures and options in a big hurry as the market Bush has nothing to do with will rebound with price hikes that make the ones over the last five years look mild. Oh and you can call it some sort of coincidence or blame it on some storm in the tropics or a 2 quart oil leak in Alaska then hide your head in the sand some more.

  23. bob buckley commented on May 12

    Gas prices wont taper off till 2008. This is the last run that BUSH and his friends at the oil company have before he leaves office. Once he is out of office they will all laugh that they pulled it off. Ever since BUSH has been in office there has been high gas prices. So BUSH and the oil tycoon’s shall retire good. Hopefully they will make a toast to be the most hated people walking the earth!!!!! and you thought osama was bad?

  24. Winston Munn commented on May 12

    It always amazes to hear the claim that gasoline prices in the U.S. versus Europe are cheap. This may be accurate, but the predominant factor is the tax on gasoline in Europe, and the fact that most of those countries provide some type of national health insurance. There is a reason the U.S. lags so woefully the world in infant mortality rates – if we actually used money for the public good, we coudn’t afford wars and the markets might even go down. Shudder.

    Of course, U.S. citizens might be willing to pay higher prices if the size of the U.S. compared to countries in Europe. In Europe you can drive 300 miles and visit 4 contries; in some parts of the U.S., after driving 300 miles you are still in the same state and may not have even reached the next city.

    Provide national health care and I wouldn’t mind using public transportation as a tradeoff; however, I am reluctant to use public transportation in order to save enough energy to finance another war.

    “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.”

    ~John Quincy Adams

    Sorry, John. Looks like you lose.

  25. Sasha commented on Oct 29

    I don’t think the prices will go down! And in the eastern places the gas prices are $oo.15! What do u think about that?

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