Gas Prices and the 2012 Election
Word is that $4 a gallon gas is headed our way sometime this summer. Given that this will be in the midst of a Presidential election, President Obama can't be happy about a story like that.
I have come to the conclusion that the election will likely be decided at the gas pump rather than at the feet of issues like contraception or pro-life policies or what have you. The place where the rubber meets the road, quite literally, is at the pump. Personally, I pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 to fill my tank every 8 or 9 days. That is with prices at $3.50 per gallon give or take a penny or three. Add all of this up when things hit a price that high and suddenly it becomes more of a problem to fill the tank. Add to it the idea that when gas prices go up, the price of food and other things start creeping up and then you have a squeezed middle class getting squeezed further.
Many would say that the President has little control over the day to day fluctuations at the pump and I would largely agree. That said, though, when the President has stood in the way of offshore exploration and drilling in ANWR to name a couple, it creates a situation where prices go a lot higher than what they already ought to be.
Personally, I think prices need to be lower than $4, lower than $3 and really ought to be closer to $2 a gallon. What that means is that more and more as the price goes up, the wallet will be doing the voting. If there isn't enough money in the wallet to pay for gas and food, then many people will decide that it's time to make a change at the top. It matters very little who it is that runs against the President if gas gets that high. If you see prices at a sustained level of $4 or above, you will be talking about President-elect Romney, Gingrich, Santorum or even Ron Paul, perish the thought, after November of this year.
Mark my words, 2012 will be decided at the pump.