Recent polling and voting data has forced President Obama to pivot his attention back to the rising cost and energy (especially the over rise in gas prices, which are closing in on $4 nationally).
In a speech at Prince George’s Community College, the President attempted to dismiss criticism from some that the policies his administration has enacted over the last 3 years are in part responsible for 33% rise in gasoline prices. The President also sought to dismiss Republican Newt Gingrich’s statement that if he wins election in 2012 that he has a plan that would bring down the cost of gasoline to $2.50 gallon.
President Obama’s statement this week should be seen as an acknowledgment that those in his administration are looking at polling as well as voting data from the Republican Primaries and are seeing that the overall health of the economy remains the number one issue with likely voters.
Recent polls have shown that a majority of Americans now disapprove of the President’s handling of the economy as well as shows that nearly 8 out of 10 Americans feel that the nation is on the wrong track under his leadership with his overall approval rating now standing at 41%. Many American have seen the cost of living go up in the last 3 years as their wages have stagnated, while the price of basic goods have risen by 27%.
The President sought to downplay Republican calls for more domestic drilling and boasted that companies are drilling more than ever on public lands, but a governmental report (see below) shows that drilling has fallen off considerably during this administration.
The Institute for Energy Research also issued a report showing that drilling on public lands has fallen to a 9 year low since 2003(see graph below).
President Obama’s shift also indicates that some Congressional Democrats in swing districts are feeling the heat from voters; Senator Chuck Schumer public stated recently that he personally lobby the Saudis to pump more oil exports in an effort to drive down the market price for a barrel of oil.
The President has been enjoying a short reprieve over the past month as his party sought to focus public attention on social issues, such as a contraception mandate on religious institutions. the phony outrage surrounding the comments of Rush Limbaugh concerning the false testimony of liberal activist Sandra Fluke now seems to be over as gas prices nationally are nearing $4 a gallon and many Americans are worried how they are going to survive this summer as many experts are predicting that gas will top $5 national.
While Democrat Strategists and Progressive Pundits have sought to attack the polling data as being broken and the overall intelligence of likely voters, one thing that this President, his party and his cheerleaders can’t deny is his past statement on how President can have an effect on gas prices, that the policies of his administration have not only effected the price of a gallon of gasoline, but the cost of energy overall and despite his administration’s assessment that the nation is recovery, most Americans are still concerned with overall health of the economy as unemployment remains at record highs and the rising cost of basic goods.
While President Obama found a friendly crowd at Prince George’s Community College (which is Maryland’s largest minority majority, which contains a large number of federal government workers) outside the beltway the message is all too clear from those polled, “It still all about the economy stupid!”