Funniest Graph of the Day: In 2006, 73 percent of Democrats said President Bush could do something about gasoline prices. Now only 33 percent think President Obama can do anything about them.
Likewise, in 2006 only 47 percent of Republicans thought Bush could fix gas prices. Now 65 percent of them think Obama can fix them.
Both parties’ rank and file evidently view supply and demand through a partisan filter. Democrats do so more than twice as often (40-point swing vs. 18-point swing) as Republicans.
Wait a second, Barticles. You’re right that this is an interesting chart—but let’s treat numbers fairly rather than trying to score cheap points. There was a 12% swing between 2006 and 2012 between whether the administration could reasonably reduce gas prices. So once you factor that in, there would be a 28% swing in the Democrats and a 30% swing in the Republicans. Essentially, it’s the same for either party.
That is the fuzziest math I have ever seen in my entire life. Seriously.
Secondly, why were Americans more likely to blame Bush for high gas prices? Was Bush bad at messaging? Did we learn something about economics? Or did somebody notice that the 2006 gas spike had a lot to do with refineries going offline post-Katrina? Or perhaps there’s a perception that Obama’s administration has already done a lot of the things that can be done to reduce gas demand such as raising fuel efficiency standards.
You’re implying that somehow 12% of the population became knowledgable about the economics of oil prices, but somehow still has no understanding of the unemployment situation. Bush messaged like an idiot (probably because he was), but it’s not the messaging itself that was flawed; it’s just a lot easier to scapegoat someone who sounds like they have no idea what they’re doing than to scapegoat a college professor who’s also a very convincing orator. I mean, people bought ‘hope’ and ‘change’; there are a lot of people who desperately want to believe that Obama is this great guy, so they’re going to be more likely to give him some slack on issues they don’t understand, like oil.
People can be dumb and partisan—but maybe there’s a bit more to the chart than that.
And maybe there isn’t a college bubble. But I’d have to feign a great deal of ignorance to make that claim.
Feel free to check the numbers yourself on the “fuzzy math.” In each case, the Out Party is roughly 10% more likely to blame the President than Independents. The In Party is around 20% less likely than Independents. That’s pretty symmetrical.
In all seriousness, we know that gas prices and oil prices change significantly based on a lot of factors. We know that some of them are pretty well out of a President’s control. For example, there’s a set amount of oil in the world. Others are in the President’s control. (Think oil speculation and statements about the strategic petroleum reserve. Or repairable supply disruptions.) Whether the President can do something to marginally reduce gas prices depends a lot on what’s causing the spike.
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