Gas Prices: Hurting Obama While Newt Runs on Fumes?

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March 13 2012 3:35 PM

Gas Prices: Hurting Obama While Newt Runs on Fumes?

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(A sign shows gas prices over five dollars a gallon for all three grades at a EXXON service station on March 13, 2012 in Washington, DC.)

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The 2012 presidential election juggernaut is being fueled this week by gasoline.

A recent rise in gas prices has become a major talking point for Republican hopefuls, and President Obama has taken a hit in the popularity polls because of the nation’s pain at the pump, with some states seeing prices rise above an average of $4.

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Obama's approval rating, according to a New York Times/CBS survey, has dropped to 41 percent, a 9-point drop from just a month ago. Meanwhile conservative candidate Newt Gingrich, running a distant third in the GOP nomination fight, is getting big cheers on the campaign trail in southern states like Alabama, promising to stay in the race and reduce the price of gas to $2.50 per gallon with the help of increased domestic drilling.

Most analysts agree that realistically speaking, the president has little control over the price at the pump. But somebody’s got to pay for it, and the latest polling suggests that this election cycle, that somebody might turn out to be Obama.

Video produced by Paca Thomas

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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