4/21: Mideast Turmoil, Oil Companies Blamed for High Gas Prices

As the price of gasoline skyrockets, Americans have no trouble pointing a proverbial finger.  According to this McClatchy-Marist Poll, the turmoil in the Middle East and U.S. oil companies are the most to blame.  36% of U.S. residents think the volatility in the Middle East is at fault while 34% say U.S. oil companies are the culprits.  11% hold President Obama and the Democrats responsible, and 7% find fault with Congressional Republicans.  Three percent of Americans blame state and local taxes, and one in ten — 10% — are unsure.


Click Here for Complete April 21, 2011 USA McClatchy-Marist Poll Release and Tables

Democrats — 44% — and independents — 39% — are more likely to blame U.S. oil companies for the high price of gas while Republicans — 37% — are more likely to cite the turmoil in the Middle East.

“There’s plenty of blame to go around for high fuel prices in the minds of Americans,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Although this is an issue that hits close to home, right now it isn’t being laid at President Obama’s doorstep.”

The high price of gas is taking its toll on drivers nationally.  A majority — 55% — have changed their driving habits because of rising costs.  45% have not, and fewer than 1% are unsure.

There are regional differences.  Majorities in the Midwest — 61% — West — 57% — and South — 53% — have altered their driving practices.  In the Northeast, 48% have changed their habits while a slim majority — 52% — say they are hitting the road the same as always.

Older Americans — 59% — are more likely than younger residents — 49% — to have changed their driving practices because of the high price of gas.

Table: Cause of High Gas Prices
Table: Impact of Gas Prices on Driving Habits

McClatchy-Marist Poll Methodology