Entries in Poll Numbers (2)


Stepping On The Gas: Are Prices at the Pump Sinking Obama's Poll Numbers? 

Pete Souza/The White House(LOS ANGELES) -- At a fundraiser Thursday night in Los Angeles -- a city synonymous with America's car culture -- President Obama played pollster-in-chief, speculating publicly that one of the drivers of his slumping approval numbers are sky-high gas prices.

“My poll numbers go up and down depending on the latest crisis and right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people,” Obama acknowledged at his sixth fundraising event in two days.

And, he’s right. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week showed President Obama’s job approval rating dropping by seven percentage points since January and his personal popularity at a career low.

The White House knows a combination of factors is to blame, but it’s not hard to connect the dots. Our poll found that 71 percent of Americans say that the rising price of gasoline -- now averaging $4 a gallon and getting more expensive by the day -- is causing them financial hardship (“serious” hardship for more than four in 10).

And polling analyst Gary Langer points out that the overall view that the economy is worsening has increased by 21 points, particularly in the West, where gas prices are highest and where Obama has focused his campaign-style swing this week.

A New York Times-CBS News poll out Friday echoes the ABC-Post numbers. The Times notes, “Americans are more pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook and overall direction than they have been at any time since President Obama’s first two months in office.”

At a town-hall style meeting Thursday in Reno, Nev., where the price of fuel has risen to a three-year high, Obama pledged that he would go after gasoline price gougers, announcing a new task force to “root out any cases of fraud of manipulation” of oil markets.

And speaking of short-term political gain, Obama unleashed a line in Reno Thursday that is likely to become a familiar refrain during the presidential campaign so long as prices at the pump remain high and Republicans try to use the issue against him.

“Every time gas prices go up like this, like clockwork, suddenly politicians look around and they discover high gas prices. And they’re shocked, and they get in front of TV and they say, ‘we've got a three-point plan to bring gas down to two bucks a gallon,'” Obama said. “And then when gas prices go down, nothing ever happens, and we’re back into the same old patterns, and we don’t have a comprehensive energy strategy for the future.”

To be sure, the past month has been a pretty daunting for the president: Rising fuel prices, unrest in the Middle East and North Africa and the wrangling over a government shutdown. The question now is whether Obama's standing will improve once these problems fade or whether opinions about his handling of these issues are starting to harden -- making it more difficult for him to alter public perceptions even if things do get better.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Will New Year Bring Higher Approval Ratings for Obama?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Will President Obama’s political headlines in the month of December, a month in which he brokered bipartisan agreements on a spate of legislation, push his approval numbers above the critical 50-percent mark? Democratic pollster Stefan Hankin predicts they will.

“We haven’t seen numbers yet. I’m sure we’ll see a bunch of new numbers in early January for national public polling, but I would imagine we’ll see his numbers heading north,” Harkin told ABC News on Tuesday. “The one thing we have to remember when we look at his numbers is it's not in comparison to January ‘09 when his numbers were over 60 percent. That was a false high and there’s no arguing that one,” Harkin said. “But he won with 53 percent in 2008, and even now when his numbers are so-called plummeting, his numbers are still in the high 40s, so he hasn’t really gone that far.”

Asked whether the president needs to rebrand himself in order to ride high into the 2012 elections, Harkin says no.  He points to the support he sees in poll numbers for the president, even among independents. But Harkin says support for the president this year may very well lie in the hands of the Republicans now controlling Congress.

“These switchers – who went from Obama to the Republicans in 2010 – what they’re looking for is compromise and they’re looking for things to get done,” he said.

But Harkin says the Democrats have to think about how they position themselves against a Republican party now in the majority in the House. “The Democrats have a problem, too. If they’re seen only as working with Republicans for one month but then just going back to pushing back on Republicans, they’ll be punished.”

The Democratic strategist thinks Obama can weather both scenarios. “Obama is in a win-win position. Whether Democrats or Republicans are his foil, he’s going to come out looking good,” Harkin predicted.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio