Upper Midwesterns have certainly rejoiced at the drop in gas prices during the past few weeks. The current price for a gallon of gas in the Midwest is now $2.45, falling 15 cents a gallon from a week ago and 31 cents a gallon in two weeks. In Minnesota, the price has fallen 41 cents a gallon in two weeks, from $2.79 to $2.38.

This drop appears to be correlated to an increase in support for republicans in a generic congressional matchup with democrats. A national FOX News Poll conducted August 29-30 found democrats to be the preference of 48% of voters, compared to just 32% for the GOP. A FOX News Poll taken this week finds Democrats leading only 41% to 38%, a large net 13-point gain for the republicans.

One of the big questions throughout Campaign 2006 is whether or not the adage “All politics is local” will be trumped by the notion that perceived, prolonged bad news coming out of Iraq will hurt republicans nationally in November. The flip side of this question now becomes whether or not sustained good news for the consumer in gas prices could have the reverse, positive effect for republican candidates across the nation.

3 Comments

  1. Pat on September 15, 2006 at 8:20 am

    Do you think it has more to do with gas prices, or the Republican drum-beating surrounding 9/11?

    Look at the polls again in a couple weeks… I’m guessing some of this is a temporary bump based on the politicization of 9/11 by Bush & co.



  2. Eric Ostermeier on September 16, 2006 at 8:04 pm

    > Look at the polls again in a couple weeks… I’m guessing some of this is a temporary bump based on the politicization of 9/11 by Bush & co.

    Will do. Some economists and pundits have also speculated that citizen rage over the past year’s rising gas prices was muted as they did not quite peak high enough to truly generate a change in orientation that might impact voting behavior ($4 or $5 per gallon prices might be necessary to do that).



  3. Scott on September 1, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Unfortunately, it would seem that the public is being slowly acclimatized to increased gas prices, as $4 to $5 per gallon was considered outrageous in 2006, but today we are seeing $3.60 to $4.00 per gallon prices constantly.

    This in turn has forced so many other prices to rise due to transportation costs. Threats of $4.00 to $5.00 per gallon no longer seem so devastating to the public, because we’ve been seeing nearly $4 per gallon for so long.