MEMO: Battleground Poll On Gas Price Accountability
To: Interested Parties
From: Climate Power and Data for Progress
Date: October 25, 2022
Re: Battleground Poll On Gas Price Accountability
Heading into the final weeks of the 2022 midterm election, gas prices continue to be part of the discourse on the campaign trail. While prices are down from their summer highs and have begun to tick back down after a recent bump, voters are still feeling the pain from across-the-board inflation, and gas prices remain a key component of that. Climate Power and Data for Progress recently completed a survey of battleground states (AZ, GA, NV, PA, and WI) to examine the best path forward for Democrats.
The survey confirmed that voters are concerned with the price of gas and inflation in general, but more battleground state voters (76%) believe oil and gas companies raising prices on consumers to maximize their profits is to blame for high gas prices than President Biden and Democrats in Congress (66%). Voters also believe Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Saudi Arabia/OPEC+ share some blame but do not feel as strongly about these culprits.
This advantage is one that must be pressed by Democrats in the final days of the election. Accountability for oil and gas companies is a potent message and critical to shifting blame on gas prices to their true sources. Conveniently, oil and gas companies begin releasing their Q3 earnings this week giving Democrats new material to work with. Already in just the first half of 2022, oil and gas companies have made nearly $210 billion in record profits and this trend is expected to continue.
Voters want their leaders in Congress to take action to protect consumers. Passing new laws in Congress to protect consumers from spikes in gas and home heating and cooling prices has near universal support with 82% of battleground voters supporting including 80% of Independents and 75% of Republicans.
House Democrats should remind voters that Republicans all voted against legislation to rein in oil and gas price gouging. And every Republican in the House and Senate voted against the Inflation Reduction Act and its tens of billions of dollars in incentives to lower energy costs for families. The New York Times reported last week that oil and gas lobbyists are also conspiring with Republicans, should they win the House, to repeal home clean energy and cost-saving incentives that could be worth up to $14,000 per family.
But passing consumer protection laws alone is not the only critical message for Democrats to deliver to voters. Accountability for oil and gas companies is very popular and not something many Republican candidates will agree to support. Voters want to vote for a candidate who will hold oil and gas companies accountable for raising prices on consumers to maximize profits with 78% of likely battleground voters supporting including 71% of Independents and 73% of Republicans.
Gas prices are projected to continue to decrease over the final two weeks of the election and that should be communicated, but Democrats cannot ignore the continued pain of voters filling their cars with expensive gas. Fortunately, most voters already agree that oil and gas companies maximizing their profits is a major source of the problem. It is critical that Democrats continue to talk about holding oil and gas companies accountable for price gouging and their corporate greed. The upcoming earnings announcements for these companies should represent a rallying point for Democrats to elevate this message and ensure voters know the real problem behind high gas prices and that Democrats have a plan to do something about it.
From October 17 to 20, 2022, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,216 likely voters in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, geography, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points.