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21 Jun, 2022 22:22

Only 11% of Americans blame Putin for gas prices – poll

Barely one in ten voters buy the Biden administration’s claim that Russia is to blame for higher costs
Only 11% of Americans blame Putin for gas prices – poll

Just 11% of Americans believe Russian President Vladimir Putin is to blame for record high gas prices in the US, according to a Rasmussen poll published on Tuesday. The majority instead have pointed the finger at US President Joe Biden.

More than half (52%) of respondents to the Rasmussen poll conducted last week cited Biden’s poor energy policies as the reason gas has become unaffordable, meaning the administration’s “Putin’s price hike” narrative does not appear to be catching on.

Those who blame neither Biden nor Putin mention the oil companies, with 29% of respondents suggesting the industry is leveraging the current geopolitical instability to jack up its prices.

Perhaps aware that his “Putin’s price hike” narrative no longer holds water, Biden has been leaning toward blaming oil and gas companies for the ruinous costs of fueling up, recently accusing the industry of “making more money than God.” The president has insisted that oil companies are deliberately holding back from drilling “because they make more money not producing more oil.” 

While the US banned imports of Russian oil and gas in March, Moscow supplied just two percent of its oil before that and the US is a net gas exporter, leaving little support for the claim that Russia is responsible for the record highs at the pump. 

The price of gas is widely viewed as the critical issue heading into the midterms. Some 92% of voters saw the rising price of gas, home heating oil, and other fuels as a serious problem in Tuesday’s poll, with 68% calling the problem “very serious.

With no sign of an economic turnaround and elections coming in November, the Democratic Party is likely to be blamed for voters’ economic suffering, and both houses of Congress may end up under Republican control.

Only 27% of potential voters rated Biden’s handling of the economy as “excellent” or “good” in Tuesday’s poll, a five-point drop since December, while 57% rated his performance as “poor.” Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the economy has gotten worse in the past year, with just 11% saying it has gotten better and the remainder undecided. 

Faced with public refusal to believe the desired “Putin’s price hike” narrative laying the responsibility for American suffering at Russia’s feet, politicians have gotten creative. A former treasury secretary, Larry Summers, went so far as to blame Republicans who refused to display sufficient horror in response to the January 6 Capitol riot for the soaring inflation rate, currently sitting at a 40-year high.

Summers, like many US economists, has predicted a recession within the next year, though Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has denied such an outcome is inevitable. Yellen infamously downplayed inflation last year, declaring it a mild and transient phenomenon as it spiraled out of control. Inflation is widely viewed as the number-one issue heading into the midterm elections.