In a fresh article up at the New Republic, I argue that McCain is winning the argument over gas prices — and thereby eroding Obama’s advantage on the traditional Democratic territory of the economy.
Nevertheless, the impact of higher gas prices is quite literally more visible than that of other commodities–gas stations bellow their prices from every street corner. In the Pew poll, 38 percent of Americans voters identified energy prices as the most important economic problem facing the country. That was far and away the plurality response–unemployment was cited by only 11 percent of the sample, and the housing crisis by 10 percent.
The economy is the election. And gas prices have become the economy. John McCain has been smart to champion the issue. The policies that McCain has advocated–a suspension in the federal gas tax and expanded offshore drilling–are both fairly popular, with the latter being favored by around a 70/30 majority.