Obama’s approval drops as gas prices jump

We’ve noted over the last few days that rising gas price could pose a problem for President Barack Obama, whose energy policy has left a lot to be desired. This was emphasized by a recent poll from Gallup showing that 65% of Americans held Obama partly responsible for higher gas prices.

But a new Washington Post/ABC News poll showing that Obama’s approval ratings have gone down as gas has gone up, further driving home the vulnerability on the issue:

Disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the economy is heading higher — alongside gasoline prices — as a record number of Americans now give the president “strongly” negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign’s most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Increasingly pessimistic views of Obama’s performance on the economy — and on the federal budget deficit — come despite a steadily brightening employment picture and other signs of economic improvement, and they highlight the political sensitivity of rising gas prices.
Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll. Most Americans say higher prices are already taking a toll on family finances, and nearly half say they think that prices will continue to rise, and stay high.

It’s going to be a close one tonight in Alabama and Mississippi

Coming off of a good Super Tuesday, Mitt Romney hopes to further entrench himself at the frontrunner for the Republican nomination tonight as Alabama and Mississippi voters head to the polls to cast their ballots. But various surveys in these two Southern states show that it’ll be a close race, one that has Romney running right along Rick Santorum in Newt Gingrich.

Santorum had a good weekend, picking up an overwhelming win in Kansas, while Romney won Wyoming and some United States territories. For Gingrich, however, tonight’s primaries are a “must win” if he hopes to avoid more calls to drop out of the race. And the latest polls out of Alabama and Mississippi certainly do show the former Speaker hanging with the rest of the field.

Here are the final numbers out of the two states, provided by Public Policy Polling. As noted above, it’s going to go down to the wire in Alabama:

  • Mitt Romney: 31%
  • Newt Gingrich: 30%
  • Rick Santotrum: 29%
  • Ron Paul: 8%

And Gingrich holds a small lead in Mississippi, though within the margin of error, over Romney with Santorum six back:

Another polls shows high gas prices could hurt Obama

On Friday, I noted that polls indicated that Americans are growed incresingly concerned with high gas prices, which may influence their votes, at the same time President Barack Obama lobbied Congress to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. This fact is highlighted by a new survey from Gallup that shows that his do-nothing approach to gas prices may be a factor in the fall:

Concern over the price of fuel has taken on an increasingly important role in the campaign cycle, and a new poll shows 65 percent of Americans hold President Obama and Congress responsible for rising gas prices.

A majority of both Republicans and Democrats said they believe Obama and Congress can “do things to keep price of gas from rising,” according to a new poll by Gallup.
Thirty-one percent surveyed said they believe the rising price of gas is “largely beyond their control.” But 85 percent of those surveyed pushed for Obama and Congress to take some immediate action to control the rising price of gas, indicating a high level of concern.

President Obama has paid lip-service on the rising cost of gas, but he’ll no doubt target oil companies as the villian, much like many of his fellow Democrats want to do with their so-called “Reasonable Profits Board.” He’ll likely target their tax breaks once again, though those tax breaks aren’t at all significant, and want to give more money for alternative energy sources that already receive substantial breaks.

GOP has voter enthusiasm on its side

While President Barack Obama is leading his possible Republican competitors in head-to-head matchups in most polls, a new Gallup poll shows that the GOP still has an important advantage in voter enthusiasm:

By 53% to 45%, Republicans, including independents who lean Republican, are slightly more likely than Democrats and Democratic leaners to say they are “more enthusiastic than usual about voting” this year. Republicans have consistently led Democrats in voting enthusiasm since last fall, but to varying degrees.

Enthusiasm About Voting in 2012 Presidential Election -- Trend by Party ID

The 53% of Republicans who feel more enthusiastic about voting today — as Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are engaged in a pitched nomination battle — is greater than the 44% found in February 2008 when John McCain and Mike Huckabee were still dueling in the primaries.

This poll really means nothing this early on, but is an indicator that Republicans are motivated to out Obama. And for all of the talk about a brokered convention or supporters of one candidate threatening not to vote for another, I’m willing to bet that this will quiet down the closer we get to the fall as ousting Obama will become a common objective.

Gallup: “It’s the economy, stupid”

As we’ve noted before, the race for the Republican presidential nomination has gotten sidetracked on social issues, thanks to the contraceptive issue thats has come around in the last few weeks.

But with gas prices rising, and congressional Democrats realizing the potential ramifications of inaction, and an unemployment rate that is unlikely to fall much between now and election day, Republicans need to turn their attention back to the economy. Perhaps there is no better reminder that this election needs to be a referendum on that very specific issue than the latest numbers from Gallup showing Americans’ top concern:

Someone may want to let Rick Santorum know that voters aren’t concerned about social issues and tell him to get serious on economic policy, where he is clearly falling short.

Gallup: 72% of Americans believe ObamaCare is unconstitutional

It’s not a surprise that Americans are uneasy about the Obama Administration health care “reform,” which was rammed through Congress in March 2010. So it’s a wonder why Republicans are hammering social issues right now when a new poll from Gallup shows that a plurality of Americans favor repeal, and a solid majority — including a majority of Democrats — believe the individual mandate is unconstitutional:

Americans are deeply divided over whether a Republican president should repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law if elected this November, a new poll Monday shows, although the vast majority of those surveyed believe the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

Gallup found that 47 percent of Americans want a GOP president to repeal the law, while 44 percent oppose that.

However, 72 percent of Americans believe the individual mandate in the health care reform package is unconstitutional, while 20 percent believe it is constitutional.

Along party lines, a majority of Democrats - 56 percent - believe the health care mandate is unconstitutional and 37 percent defend it as constitutional. Among Republicans, 94 percent view that part of the law as unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, a USA Today/Gallup poll of swing states shows that a majority of crucial swing state voters oppose the law. In fact, 53 percent of swing state voters see the health care reforms as a “bad thing,” while 38 percent see it as a “good thing.”

Voters aren’t sold on Gingrich’s moon colony

While Newt Gingrich has high aspirations to start an American colony on the moon (or something), a recent poll from The Hill shows that voters are, well, not as far out there as the former Speaker:

Newt Gingrich’s proposal for a lunar colony still has a long way to go before it meets with voters’ approval.

The Hill Poll found that just 1 in 5 likely voters support the idea of a permanent American base on the moon. By contrast, 64 percent are opposed to the idea.

Gingrich said on Jan. 25 that there would be a permanent U.S. base on the moon by the end of his second term, if he were elected president.

He has defended the idea since then, arguing that the United States should pursue bold projects. He has implied a parallel between his belief in this realm and the actions of past presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, who advocated, respectively, for a transcontinental railroad and a manned mission to the moon.

For someone that gained so much support from conservative and Tea Party-minded voters, Gingrich is sure willing to spend a lot of money to see his odd and, frankly, aburd proposal come to fruition. But Gingrich’s high hopes for a moon colony has given the cast from Saturday Night Live some fodder:

Reuters poll shows Ron Paul in second

While the media focus in recent weeks has been the on the battle between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich — and more recently Rick Santorum, as he begins to pull some conservatives into his camp, a new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows that Ron Paul is now second in the field (though within the margin of error).

  • Mitt Romney: 29%
  • Ron Paul: 21%
  • Newt Gingrich: 20%
  • Rick Santorum: 18%

I spoke to a friend last night about the race. He just happened to be in Nevada over the weekend and he explained that it’s a “likeability” factor. Even though he’s not a supporter, he thinks Paul comes across as the most consistant, most genuine with the clearest convictions of the remaining four candidates. Aaron Blake caught this in the entrance polls out of Nevada, showing that caucus-goers viewed Paul as the “true conservative” in the race.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this will translate into primary or caucus wins. Clearly and unfortunately, it hasn’t. But it does show that the libertarian-leaning message Paul presents to Republican voters, even at this late moment in the race, is gaining more traction and may be difficult to ignore in this and future elections.

Romney poised for a big win in Florida

We’ve got another round of polling out of Florida showing that Mitt Romney is poised for a big win. Just a week ago it seemed that momentum was in Newt Gingrich’s corner, but two bad debate performances and a couple of gaffes, including one that brought Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) out of his isolation to stick up for Romney, badly hurt him.

Here’s a look at the latest polling going back to those that were released at the beginning of last week. these show the dramatic swing from Gingrich to Romney in just a few days time.

Romney swings momentum to his corner in Florida

In just a couple of days, Newt Gingrich went from the likely winner of Tuesday’s primary in Florida to the underdog. So what has caused support to swing away from him and back to Mitt Romney? Well, a few things. Many Republicans are coming out to criticize Gingrich for various things, such as his time as Speaker of the House and his criticism of Ronald Reagan. Then there was the bad press he received as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took up for Romney when Gingrich compared him to Charlie Crist.

As you can see in the poll numbers that came out yesterday, a couple of days makes a world of difference in politics.

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