President Obama's approval numbers have dropped to an all-time low, plummeting to 41 percent in a new CBS/New York Times survey. (Last month, that poll had Obama at 50 percent.) At the same time, an increasing number of voters disapprove of Obama's approach to rising gas prices. According to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama's handling of America's pain at the pump, compared to just 26 percent who give him a passing grade. These polls seem to reverse a trend that had seen Obama's numbers climb thanks to steadily improving employment figures and other indications of economic recovery. If prices at the pump keep rising, are Obama's re-election hopes doomed?
Absolutely. Gas prices could be the deciding factor: Americans "still have no confidence in the president's ability to get the economy fully moving again," says Rick Moran at The American Thinker. And clearly, one of the key reasons Americans are mad at Obama is the sky-high price of gas. That a huge liability for an incumbent in a re-election fight. Is it really any surprise that "Obama's GOP rivals are all now either close or ahead of him in national polls"?
"As gas prices rise, Obama's ratings go down"
No way. Gas prices won't sink Obama: Obama would only be in big trouble if gas prices get so high that they "stomp on the nascent economic recovery," says Brad Plumer at The Washington Post. That's unlikely. And let's put this in context: 36 percent of Americans now say fuel costs are causing them "serious" hardship. That's "virtually identical to what Americans were saying in May of 2004, six months before George W. Bush won re-election."
"Why gas prices aren't likely to decide the 2012 election"
Gas prices aside, Americans expect Obama to win: It's true that gas prices "have surpassed the federal budget deficit as Obama's single weakest issue," says Gary Langer at ABC News. But things are still looking up for Obama. Even while GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney gets higher marks than Obama on the economy, the former Massachusetts governor is still despised by much of the GOP base. Maybe that's why 54 percent of Americans expect Obama to win a second term — a number that has climbed 8 points since January and 17 since October 2011.
"Election expectations move Obama's way; yet rising gas prices fuel GOP pushback"