Poll: Most Feel Pain At The Pump

image AP

With gas prices now averaging about $2.00 per gallon, nearly all Americans say they have personally been affected by higher gas prices and some even plan to change their vacation plans this summer because of it.

Americans are more likely to blame oil companies and oil producers for the price increases than the war in Iraq. 62% place a great deal of blame for higher gas prices on oil companies trying to increase their profits. 55% put a great deal of blame on oil-producing nations limiting the production of oil. A lower 34% place a great deal of blame on the war in Iraq.

WHO IS TO BLAME FOR HIGHER GAS PRICES?

Oil Companies
A great deal
62%
Some
27%
Not much
8%
Not at all
2%

Oil Producing-Nations
A great deal
55%
Some
34%
Not much
7%
Not at all
3%

War in Iraq
A great deal
34%
Some
37%
Not much
14%
Not at all
13%

58% of Americans think the price of gasoline is something a president can do a lot about. 33% say the price of gas is beyond the president's control. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say a president can do a lot about gas prices.

IS THE PRICE OF GASOLINE SOMETHING A PRESIDENT CAN DO A LOT ABOUT?
Yes
58%
No
33%


WHO'S AFFECTED BY HIGH GAS PRICES?

85% of Americans say they have been affected by higher gas prices, including more than half - 56% - who say they have been affected a lot.

HOW MUCH DO HIGHER PRICES FOR GAS AFFECT YOU?
A lot
56%
Some
29%
Not much
11%
Not at all
4%

Those Americans most affected by higher gas prices are people living in rural areas, those with incomes of $30,000 or less, and those who think the economy is in bad shape. Residents of the south and Midwest are a bit more likely to say they have been affected "a lot" by higher gas prices than those living in on the east and west coasts.

Overall, 3 in 10 Americans say they expect to change their summer vacation plans because of higher gas prices. Among those who have been affected a lot by the higher price for gas, 44% report they expect to change their vacation plans.

Despite high gas prices, half of Americans say they usually buy gas from the station that is most convenient for them, while 45% say they seek out gas stations with the lowest prices. However, among those who have been affected a lot by the higher gas prices, 56% say they shop around for lower-priced gas even if that means going out of their way.

GAS PRICES AND THE ELECTION

As for how the price of gas will impact the presidential election in November, most voters do not think the election of either John Kerry or George W. Bush will cause gas prices to drop.

51% of voters say if Kerry is elected president, gas prices will stay about the same. 21% think prices will get lower, while 13% think the cost of gas will increase.

IF KERRY IS ELECTED PRESIDENT, GAS PRICES WILL …
(Registered Voters

Go lower
21%
Go higher
13%
Stay the same
51%

While more voters say gas prices will increase if Bush is re-elected than if Kerry is elected president, many still say gas prices will remain the same in a second Bush term. 46% of voters say gas prices will stay the same if Bush is re-elected, 30% say they will increase, and 14% say they will decrease.

IF BUSH IS RE-ELECTED PRESIDENT, GAS PRICES WILL …
(Registered Voters

Go lower
14%
Go higher
30%
Stay the same
46%

While these days it is the economy overall and the war in Iraq that are most on voters' minds, 4% now say they most want to hear the candidates talk about gas prices, tied with education and ranking 4th on the list of issues that voters want to hear discussed by the candidates for President.

For detailed information on how CBS News conducts public opinion surveys, click here.



This poll was conducted among a nationwide random sample of 1,113 adults, interviewed by telephone May 20-23, 2004. The error due to sampling could be plus or minus three percentage points for results based on the entire sample.
  • Joel Roberts

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