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Poll: Oil spike blamed on Bush, big Oil
Over two-thirds of Americans say high gas prices are causing financial pains, and they blame Bush.
August 31, 2005: 5:50 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (CNN) - Even before feeling the economic effects of Hurricane Katrina, more than two-thirds of Americans said this week that high gas prices were causing them financial hardship -- 18 percent claiming serious hardship, 51 percent moderate hardship.

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll was conducted nationwide Sunday through Tuesday. Hurricane Katrina's impact on oil pumping and refining facilities when it struck the Gulf Coast on Monday is bringing even higher gas prices, increasing whatever hardship people were feeling already.

There is already evidence of political repercussions. More than three-quarters of the poll's respondents disapproved of the way President Bush is handling gas prices. That was the president's lowest rating on any of the six issues touched on in this poll.

While poll respondents primarily blamed oil companies for rising gas prices -- 84 percent blamed them a great deal or a moderate amount -- 63 percent also blamed the Bush administration.

There's evidence the issue could hurt Republicans in next year's midterm election. Fifty-seven percent of respondents assigned either a great deal or a moderate amount of blame for the gas-price spiral to Republicans in Congress, compared with 46 percent who blamed Democrats. That may have contributed to political pressure from Republicans to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which the administration approved Wednesday.

On his handling of the economy overall, President Bush got a 60 percent negative rating in the poll -- his worst economic rating ever -- while only 38 percent of respondents approved.

On gas prices, 20 percent approved of his handling, while 76 percent disapproved.

Here are the numbers on other issues: Terrorism, 53 percent approve, 44 percent disapprove; foreign affairs, 43 percent approve, 52 percent disapprove; Iraq, 40 percent approve, 59 percent disapprove; health care policy, 32 percent approve, 60 percent disapprove.

Overall, 45 percent said they approve of how Bush is handling his job while 52 percent disapproved. That is an improvement from 40 percent and 56 percent in an Aug. 22-26 poll, putting the numbers back in line with an Aug. 8-11 poll, which had 45 percent and 51 percent.

The telephone poll was conducted with 890 registered voters nationwide. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Who's really to blame for high gas prices? Click here.

Gas: Can consumers bear more pain? Click here.  Top of page

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