Kerry's Major Opportunity To Bash Bush On Gas Prices
Want to see a potentially lethal issue for John Kerry to hammer Bush with all during the summer? How about his ties to the oil industry and equating that relationship with rising gas prices? A Zogby poll done for the Wilderness Society just released today shows that by a 5 to 1 margin (57%-12%), likely voters feel that Bush’s ties to the oil industry hurt consumers rather than help them. Furthermore, it’s interesting to see where various groups place the blame for rising gas prices:
Despite recent claims by oil industry representatives and some members of Congress that environmental regulations are responsible for rising gasoline prices, most voters pin the blame on OPEC (42%), oil companies (30%), or President Bush (14%).
Those most likely to blame OPEC are Republicans (53%), Easterners (51%), suburban voters (48%), and those making more than $75,000 per year (53%).
Those most likely to blame the oil companies include Westerners (41%) and those making less than $25,000 per year (37%).
Those most likely to blame President Bush include African-Americans (33%), Hispanics (24%), younger voters (22%), Democrats (22%), and those making less than $15,000 per year (21%).
When asked what solutions are best for dealing with rising gas prices, very few of those polled (14%) said “drill more.” 81% thought the best solutions would be to build more fuel-efficient cars or go after oil companies found to be gouging consumers.
Kerry needs to focus on issues where he can draw clear distinctions between himself and Bush, and where he can make Bush’s captivity to his special interests a liability for him. This issue presents a great opportunity to do just that. Some would say that it is demagoguery for Kerry to make hay with this issue, when the solutions may be more difficult than they appear. But rather than shy away from this approach, Kerry needs to hammer Bush on this, and on Social Security, Medicare, the environment, health care, and education (take that, Lynne Cheney) relentlessly. After all, for the GOP and Bush to tag anyone as being a demagogue on anything is the ultimate example of the pot calling the kettle black.