The Oil Industry and the 2012 Election
The oil industry is a mainstay in America with several states taking a lot of their economy from the survival and viability of the industry in their state.
"Big oil," as some have taken to calling it, has been under attack in the election cycle that we are in now and in states where the industry is as big as it is here in Louisiana, people tend to take it personally. We have seen the President himself taking on oil and saying that they make too much money. Many wonder what that means for states like the Bayou State.
Fox Business came out with a list of the states that rely on the industry and I noticed something that doesn't jump out at first glance, but maybe it should. For the record, here is the list:
4. North Dakota
5. New Mexico
Look down the list and you will notice that 8 out of 10 are red states, or states that traditionally vote Republican in elections. That leaves two other states. California is a state that has been a reliably blue state since the days of Bill Clinton and I don't look for that to change. That narrows it down to New Mexico, which has been looked at as a swing state in the last several Presidential campaigns. What does that mean? Let's look a little closer at this election.
Barack Obama came in talking about hope and change and in the midst of it has presided over gas prices that have gone through the roof, clouds and are soaring through space at the moment. He has talked about how oil should not get the tax breaks that so many other businesses get and use every year at tax time. He has set up an us versus them mentality when it comes to oil, but so far it doesn't seem to be taking. Indeed, many are wondering where the money is coming from to be able to fill the tank and haven't had time to see "big oil" as the evil one. Instead, they look at where prices were when Obama took office and where they are now. Oil has not changed in all of that time, but the President's policies have taken hold and driven up prices and fears about what he would like to do if he is reelected.
That brings us back to the election. While we know that Texas is generally Republican and Louisiana is all but certain to go red in the next election, there is no doubt that the President is making more than a few enemies in oil producing states. That sets up two problems for Mr. Obama. First, he is more than likely to lose New Mexico, which sometimes can swing a close election like this one is likely to be. Second, the oil industry knows that Barack Obama has not been a friend to the industry. They would be more likely to donate and volunteer on the behalf of the candidate that will be the nominee for Republicans, likely to be Romney at this point. The influx of cash on the GOP side will be welcome and will be seen as an investment into the future of the industry by those that are set to profit from oil being widely available and cheap.
It's fair to say that this list will not make any heads turn at the White House, but then again, maybe it should. With the election expected to be close and a President not friendly to the oil industry, there will be many that want to see Barack Obama add the term "ex" in front of the title that he currently holds. That being said, energy policy and gas prices may just set the agenda in this election and that would be good news for states just like Louisiana.