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Nearly 8 in 10 Americans Call Gas Prices "Unfair"

Nearly 8 in 10 Americans Call Gas Prices "Unfair"

Majority expects prices will continue to rise

by Joseph Carroll and Jeffrey M. Jones

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds much discontent with current gas prices, as the vast majority of Americans believe the gas prices they are currently paying are "unfair." Most think gas prices will continue to rise, rather than stabilize or even return to lower levels.

Americans are also clearly unhappy with the way President George W. Bush is handling gas prices. Just more than one in four approve of his handling of the issue, and two-thirds believe there are reasonable things he can do to lower gas prices, despite his assertions that there is little he can do. A majority of Americans find Bush to blame for the gas prices, but foreign countries that produce oil and U.S. oil companies are more likely to be blamed.

The April 29-May 1 poll finds 78% of Americans terming the gas prices they are currently paying as "unfair," and just 20% saying they are "fair." 

Americans do not expect relief from the high prices anytime soon. In fact, a majority of Americans expect gas prices will continue to rise over the next six months. Thirty-three percent believe gas prices will stabilize, and just 9% predict they will go back down.

The data show that people residing in the West, who have consistently suffered much higher gas prices than the rest of the country, are more likely than those living elsewhere to say prices will continue to rise. Sixty-six percent of people in the West say prices will continue to rise, compared with 55% of those in the East, 56% of those in the Midwest, and 53% of those in the South.

Democrats express similar pessimism. Two in three Democrats, 66%, say gas prices will continue to rise, compared with only 44% of Republicans.

Bush Scores Low on Handling Gas Prices, Most Say He Should Do Something

A substantial majority of Americans, 67%, disapprove of the way Bush is handling the gas price issue, while just 27% approve. Bush's approval rating on gas prices shows sharp partisan differences, with a slight majority of Republicans (53%) approving of his handling of the issue and nearly 9 in 10 Democrats (88%) disapproving. Of the six issues tested in the poll, including the economy, Iraq, foreign affairs, and Social Security, Bush scores lowest on gas prices. 

That low score likely results from what the public perceives as inaction on the issue. The poll finds 67% of Americans saying there are "reasonable steps that Bush should take right now that would significantly lower gas prices in the country." Twenty-nine percent say there are not any steps that Bush should take. Bush has said that there is little he could do as president to lower gas prices in the short term.

Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to want Bush to do something about gas prices. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats say there are steps Bush should take to combat high gas prices, a view shared by 68% of independents and even 54% of Republicans.

Blame for High Gas Prices

Most Americans (65%) assign either "a great deal" (38%) or a "moderate amount" (27%) of blame to Bush for the recent increase in gas prices. However, Americans are more inclined to blame foreign countries that produce oil (77% blame them, including 50% who blame them a great deal) and oil companies in the United States (79% blame them, including 47% who do so a great deal). Just slightly more than half of Americans also blame people who drive "vehicles that use a lot of gasoline."

Survey Methods

Results in the current survey are based on telephone interviews with 1,006 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted April 29-May 1, 2005. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

36. Do you think the prices that you are currently paying for gasoline are fair or unfair?

                       


Fair


Unfair

NOT
BUYING
GASOLINE (vol.)

No
opinion

 

 

 

 

2005 Apr 29-May 1

20%

78

1

1

(vol.) = Volunteered response

37. What do you think will happen to gas prices in the U.S. over the next six months -- [ROTATED: they will continue to rise, they will stabilize, or they will go back down]?

                       

Continue to
rise

Stabilize

Go back
down

No opinion

 

 

 

 

2005 Apr 29-May 1

57%

33

9

1

38. How much do you blame each of the following for the recent increase in gasoline prices -- a great deal, a moderate amount, not much, or not at all? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER]?


2005 Apr 29-May 1
(sorted by "great deal")


Great deal

Moderate amount


Not much


Not
at all


No opinion

%

%

%

%

%

Foreign countries that produce oil

50

27

14

7

2

Oil companies in the U.S.

47

32

15

5

1

The Bush administration

38

27

19

15

1

Americans who drive vehicles that use a lot of gasoline

24

29

22

24

1

39. Do you think there are -- or are not -- reasonable steps that George W. Bush should take right now that would significantly lower gas prices in the United States?

                       

Yes, are

No, are not

No opinion

 

 

 

2005 Apr 29-May 1

67%

29

4

Gallup

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