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America's Debate > Archive > Election Forum Archive > [A] Election 2006
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Amlord
Recently, gas prices have gone down dramatically. They just dipped under $2.00 a gallon here in Ohio (well, at least in the Western suburbs of Cleveland).

At the same time as this downward price movement, the President's poll numbers have rebounded and are now over 41% as an aggregate (44% in the latest Gallup/USA Today poll and LA Times/Bloomberg poll).

At the same time, the Democrat lead in voter preference has shrunk to single digits, to 8.4%.

Polls courtesy of Real Clear Politics

Many more people think the economy is doing well now, all of a sudden. In April, more people rated the economy as "poor" (30%) than "excellent" (6%) or "good" (22%) combined. link

Bush Making Gains Among Voters

Question for debate:

How much of an effect will gas prices have on the November elections?
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Fife and Drum
It’s no secret that people often vote with their wallets, just ask his dad, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Bush’s recent rise in the polls is tied to the dramatic drop in gas prices. What else can it be attributed to?

He’s made no sweeping changes in domestic policy or significant head way in the war or terrorism, in fact a recent report indicates just the opposite. One might question why the cost at the pump has dropped so suddenly and conveniently. Keep your eyes focused on prices after the election.

Unfortunately there’s a percentage of American voters who political memory only stretches to their wallets.
English Horn
QUOTE(Amlord @ Sep 25 2006, 10:59 AM) *


Question for debate:

How much of an effect will gas prices have on the November elections?


Of course it will have an effect. The perception that things are going badly is not as acute if you're not being squeezed daily at the pump. After all, Iraq and Afganistan are thousands of miles away. One might wonder how convenient this sudden and dramatic price drop is for the GOP. Really, what an amazing coincidence! I wonder if prices would go up some time after the elections and the major oil companies (who, by the way, are all major GOP contributors with a notable exception of Hess) will whine again how they have zero control over fluctuating prices.


Amlord
QUOTE(English Horn @ Sep 25 2006, 12:41 PM) *

Of course it will have an effect. The perception that things are going badly is not as acute if you're not being squeezed daily at the pump. After all, Iraq and Afganistan are thousands of miles away. One might wonder how convenient this sudden and dramatic price drop is for the GOP. Really, what an amazing coincidence! I wonder if prices would go up some time after the elections and the major oil companies (who, by the way, are all major GOP contributors with a notable exception of Hess) will whine again how they have zero control over fluctuating prices.


I guess someone should have clued Bush in on this before the 2004 elections. Gas prices then did not significantly change (summertime high in 2004 was around $2.09 a gallon, price in November was about $1.83. The idiots then dropped the price further to about $1.60 a gallon by December/January.

And one wonders why the Big Oil/Big Republican cartel would waste this strategy on a non-election year like 2005, when the price dropped from a summertime high of around $3.00 a gallon (a little higher than 2006's price high) to a November price of around $2.00.

Those darn Republicans, they can't do anything right. unsure.gif

Historical Gas Prices: Gas Buddy
La Herring Rouge
How much of an effect wil lthe gas prices have on the November elections?

There is a VERY clear correlation between gas prices and Bush's approval ratings.
The correlation is almost scary!

I am quite certain that the GOP is aware of this issue and they fear the outcome of the election if gas prices remain high. I predicted (only to friends and family) that the gas prices would drop soon because of this election and I am a bit sad that I was right.

All of the incidents and world problems quoted as having cuased gas prices to spike still exist:
Unrest in the middle east, the fear of hurricanes, increased American usage, China's incredible growth, etc...

Then BP gets caught fudging their maintencance and American production slows....but prices do not spike.
Oh wait...they actually drop! I am quite certain that the oil market is tweaked and fixed for political purposes...this seems ot be an obvious example of it.
Paladin Elspeth
The major oil companies, like other lobbies, are concerned enough that their pocket-sized politicians might not get re-elected this year. That seems pretty clear. Americans are angry, especially those of us who are not making much money and who are watching our states suffer (I speak for the conditions in Western Michigan where the Brunswick Corporation has decided that it is moving its operations to Mexico) seemingly without any governmental relief as far as jobs creation goes (of course not! this must come from the private sector because it will otherwise cost some rich people money!). Our troops are engaged in a war where poor people and middle class people, by and large, are shouldering the load while no-bid contractors are filling their coffers in a war-torn country that we cannot stabilize with all the money and troops Rumsfeld can muster.

Ah, but sacrifices must be faced. It's not the same as collecting scrap metal or having our sugar and coffee rationed the way it was during the Second World War. No, it has come in the form (allegedly) of unpredictably high gasoline prices. The rub is that no one wants to call it sacrifice (because it probably isn't), and no one is able to pinpoint just who is responsible for these rapid swings in prices at the gas pump.

Lowering the price of gasoline is going to sit well with anyone who has to fill a gas tank and drive in order to go to work, take the kids to school, drive home, etc. And like the dog who forgets the shot at the vet's office five minutes afterward and wags its tail at the doctor in the lab coat, we Americans just gullibly go our way, not bothering to question just why gas was over $3.00 per gallon during the fourth of July holiday, just happy that it isn't nearly that high now.

Ain't life grand? But is it grand enough to keep the same clowns in office this time around?
Amlord
QUOTE(La Herring Rouge @ Sep 25 2006, 10:23 PM) *

How much of an effect wil lthe gas prices have on the November elections?

There is a VERY clear correlation between gas prices and Bush's approval ratings.
The correlation is almost scary!


Wow!!! The boobs apparently didn't realize that after September 11the, 2001 they had their opportunity to raise gas prices. Instead, gas prices fell. These Republicans are the most incompetent boobs ever!!

It's also amazing how while Bush's numbers dropped throughout 2002 and 2003, the gas prices remained moderately the same or rose.

QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Sep 25 2006, 11:00 PM) *

The major oil companies, like other lobbies, are concerned enough that their pocket-sized politicians might not get re-elected this year. That seems pretty clear.


And backed by evidence, I'm sure. ermm.gif

QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Sep 25 2006, 11:00 PM) *

Lowering the price of gasoline is going to sit well with anyone who has to fill a gas tank and drive in order to go to work, take the kids to school, drive home, etc. And like the dog who forgets the shot at the vet's office five minutes afterward and wags its tail at the doctor in the lab coat, we Americans just gullibly go our way, not bothering to question just why gas was over $3.00 per gallon during the fourth of July holiday, just happy that it isn't nearly that high now.

Ain't life grand? But is it grand enough to keep the same clowns in office this time around?


Apparently you aren't the only conspiracy theorist. US drivers suspicious about gas prices

I would love for someone to explain to me how Bush (or any one individual) can control the price of gas at the pump. If he did, why would our enemies like Iran and Venezuela be complicit in his strategy to rig the election by dropping the price of gasoline?
skeeterses
From what the economists say on in the Media, much of the runnup in the oil prices was caused by speculators. You people have to remember that several months ago, there was a war between Israel and Hezbollah. Since the war is over, many speculators decided to sell their oil shares rather than wait for oil prices to rise. I think the speculators were foolish to sell their oil shares because I think the oil prices will go up past $80/barrel next year.

Also, people do drive less after summer vacation is over, and so there is usually a demand drop during the fall. Now, for those people who are angry at the oil companies, you know that the oil prices will go up after the November election, regardless of who gets elected. If you're simply tired of the oil companies ripping you off at the pump, then you should find ways to cut your gas station bill. You can carpool, take a bus, or look for work within bicycling distance.
RedCedar
I keep hearing that the oil prices can't be manipulate and I guess I have to assume that is correct. But it sure seems like it would be very easy to manipulate prices. Saudi Arabia could flood the market with oil for one. And I can come up with dozens of scenarios where single entities could make prices dive.

But apparently they can't? hmmm.gif

I think it will make some difference. Just like the market hitting all time highs today. It's amazing how quickly people forget the pain at the pumps. And how easily they believe all the hype about how great the economy is doing.

But I think a lot of people still fear future gas prices and question if they were gouged on past gas prices. I hear a lot of people in the media stating polls that people think the gas prices are being manipulated. So regardless of whether it's true, there is a perception that is so.

So I think it will definately have an impact, I'm just not sure how.

If I had to guess, I would say it will be a negative impact on republicans. Simply because I think the low gas prices have to come along with other positive news...and I don't think there is anything necessarily positive about the economy since prices jumped. In fact, with housing prices diving as well, there is some additional negatives.

So if Joe Citizen notices lower gas prices, but his house is depreciating and his wages are stagnating and newly created jobs are slim, then he probably is either going to think the gas prices are being manipulated....but not associate it with the economy doing well.
carlitoswhey
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Sep 25 2006, 10:00 PM) *

Americans are angry, especially those of us who are not making much money and who are watching our states suffer (I speak for the conditions in Western Michigan where the Brunswick Corporation has decided that it is moving its operations to Mexico) seemingly without any governmental relief as far as jobs creation goes (of course not! this must come from the private sector because it will otherwise cost some rich people money!).

Wow. Government should create some jobs, because the private sector certainly should be left to the task of job creation. My God. It's bad enough that the MEDC wastes about $60MM a year so that they can publish press releases that such and such a factory 'stayed' in Michigan rather than moving. You want more government spending? A new deal perhaps?

QUOTE(RedCedar @ Sep 27 2006, 12:16 PM) *

It's amazing how quickly people forget the pain at the pumps. And how easily they believe all the hype about how great the economy is doing.

I hope you don't mind my pointing out the the 'doom and gloom' economic posts are, as usual, coming from the great state of Michigan. It's much easier to blame Bush for health care and the global economy than it is to look inward. I've been to Detroit recently, and let me say that your local government doesn't impress me. Whether it's Delphi paying $400 million per year to the 'job bank' for workers that don't even work, to inept local and state governance, Michigan's problems are long-term economic issues, and not related to Bush or "big oil" or the military-industrial complex.

I'm sure that it's frustrating for those of you who live there, but believe me there are other states who are booming. Here are the 'best states for business' and I note that Michigan places at 45th out of 50. I'm sure that ranking 49th for 'regulatory environment' has a lot more to do with the economy in Michigan than does the Iraq war, gas prices, or any other specious argument posited here.

QUOTE(RedCedar)
So if Joe Citizen notices lower gas prices, but his house is depreciating and his wages are stagnating and newly created jobs are slim, then he probably is either going to think the gas prices are being manipulated....but not associate it with the economy doing well.

I think that you are probably right here. People will probably think that gas prices are being manipulated. It's typical to blame 'the man' or whatever, and frustrating to deal with globally-traded commodities. Just speaking for myself, when gas was at $3.50 per gallon here, it was a lot cheaper than the last place I lived (UK) where diesel was about $6 per gallon. Not to mention the higher cost for car, insurance and even license plates over there. We americans just don't believe how good we have it economically. Likely because we are told every day just how bad everything is, even when it's not.
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La Herring Rouge
QUOTE(Amlord @ Sep 27 2006, 08:48 AM) *

QUOTE(La Herring Rouge @ Sep 25 2006, 10:23 PM) *

How much of an effect wil lthe gas prices have on the November elections?

There is a VERY clear correlation between gas prices and Bush's approval ratings.
The correlation is almost scary!


Wow!!! The boobs apparently didn't realize that after September 11the, 2001 they had their opportunity to raise gas prices. Instead, gas prices fell. These Republicans are the most incompetent boobs ever!!

It's also amazing how while Bush's numbers dropped throughout 2002 and 2003, the gas prices remained moderately the same or rose.


You seem to misunderstand either the graph or my reason for posting it. The graph (showing gas prices as an inverse) shows how closely Bush's ratings match the price of gas at ANY given time interval with near perfection. If Bush is popular, you can bet that gas prices are low and if they are high, well guess what?
This is not voodoo, it is not conspiracy theory and it is not an accident. The correlation is not proof of some price fixing conspiracy. It is, however, clear proof that gas prices seem to loom large in the minds of Americans when they judge their leader.
Considering this, it would be dumb to think that the White House and it's supporters are unaware of this issue. You can be sure that, if there is a way for them to drop gas prices, they will make it happen.
I would be curious to find out the industry's explanation for the sudden drop in prices. The end of the "war" in Lebanon is a pitiful excuse. The instability in the ME is still heightened, Chavez is getting bolder and E85 is turning out to be A.) more expensive to produce and B.) less fuel efficient in cars.
Amlord
QUOTE(La Herring Rouge @ Sep 27 2006, 08:01 PM) *


You seem to misunderstand either the graph or my reason for posting it. The graph (showing gas prices as an inverse) shows how closely Bush's ratings match the price of gas at ANY given time interval with near perfection. If Bush is popular, you can bet that gas prices are low and if they are high, well guess what?
This is not voodoo, it is not conspiracy theory and it is not an accident. The correlation is not proof of some price fixing conspiracy. It is, however, clear proof that gas prices seem to loom large in the minds of Americans when they judge their leader.


What that graph demonstrates is the reason why there is a saying:

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."

If you look at OPEC and its membership, I think anyone can see a problem with the theory that Bush is manipulating prices. Why would OPEC members Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria or Russia help prop up the poll numbers of GWB?

You claim its the oil companies (all of them, apparently, moving in unison). But oil company profits amount to only a few cents on the dollar. They could maybe shave off 20 cents a gallon if they made no profit. But we know that they have made profits, despite (apparently) the desire to give Bush an edge in the approval polls.

You apparently discount the possibility that everyday Joes measure the economy by the prices at the pump. If the prices drop, the economy must be doing better, thus they are doing better, thus Bush is doing better. I have always found it curious that while the economy is very robust (just short of booming), people think Bush's handling of the economy is poor.

The easiest way to manipulate statistics is to change the scale, which seems to be what that graph you illustrated does.

Besides, the correlation is not scary. At the beginning of the graph (2001), we see gas prices rising while Bush's poll numbers also rise followed by gas prices falling with Bush's numbers also falling. Completely inverse to your "scary" correlation.

From April 2002 to it looks like February 2003, prices remained virtually constant (according to the graph) and yet Bush's poll numbers dropped from 130-something to around 100 (whatever that means). Again, that does not follow any correlation.

Then we have the summer of 2003 (looks like August thru November) where (again) gas prices fell and Bush's poll numbers....also fell.

No, what we have here is a broad trend indicating that Bush's poll numbers have dropped since 2001 and gas prices have risen. Nothing resembling a correlation, let alone any indication of causation.

Of course, this particular blogger wouldn't have any motivation to fix the data, now would he?

Maybe this map from his website gives us an indication of where his loyalties lie. whistling.gif


The guy provides a more detailed graph for the last year: chart which even further your theory (Note: the blogger himself only claims that gas prices are useful because it is the only measure of the economy that ordinary folks see. He does not claim a Bush-Big Oil collusion).

November 2005 thru February 2006: gas prices rise, Bush's numbers also rise.

The trend from February thru May seems to fit, but then in May, with prices flat (although high) Bush's number rise.

Recently, with a big drop in prices, Bush's numbers only rise moderately.

There is nothing to this graph.
Lesly
QUOTE(La Herring Rouge @ Sep 27 2006, 08:01 PM) *
QUOTE(Amlord @ Sep 27 2006, 08:48 AM) *
QUOTE(La Herring Rouge @ Sep 25 2006, 10:23 PM) *
How much of an effect will the gas prices have on the November elections?

There is a VERY clear correlation between gas prices and Bush's approval ratings. The correlation is almost scary!

Wow! The boobs apparently didn't realize that after September 11the, 2001 they had their opportunity to raise gas prices. Instead, gas prices fell. These Republicans are the most incompetent boobs ever!

You seem to misunderstand either the graph or my reason for posting it. The graph (showing gas prices as an inverse) shows how closely Bush's ratings match the price of gas at ANY given time interval with near perfection.

Boobness is as boobness does. The fact is you can superimpose two units (Bush's approval ratings and gas prices) from two histograms and still fall short of making an observational study, let alone prove a cause-effect relationship which takes more than observation, it takes experimentation. In the words of Fat Bastard: Ooooh, it's squidgy! For example, I can superimpose one histogram showing U.S. consumption rate for ice cream over a 12 month period with a second histogram showing U.S. consumption rate for beer for the same 12 month period. Over the summer both histograms shoot up and taper off in the winter. Does the new histogram show ice cream sales have something to do with beer sales (e.g. association)? No, it just means a lurking variable, hot weather, affects both units.

The same goes for Amlord's links, although he is offering articles/polls instead of a visual aid to suggest gas prices and approval ratings are related. It's not that I suspect the L.A. Times/Bloomberg methodology. They appear to have done everything right using a simple random sample with a low variability due to sample size (1,000+ respondents), the questions don't look biased, and the article says they used a representative sampling frame: “Results were weighted slightly to conform with census figures for sex, race, age, education and region.” But a good poll is not enough. Show me an observational study that takes confounding factors such as employment status, income, etc., into consideration. Saying there is a relationship between gas prices/the economy and presidential approval ratings is just a statement of belief.

What we have is Republicans engaged in a prayer, Democrats taking the bait, and together the result is as worthwhile as Fred Phelps cutting his corndogs and popsicles.
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