Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Jim's Gas Problem

Gas prices are all the political rage these days, but it looks like Jimbo might have a gas problem that Pepto-Bismol can't fix.

First, the Christian Science Monitor had this to say:

[T]he [Democratic] party has been handed an issue that's almost a sure winner as it seeks to retake Congress in the fall midterms, analysts say.

"It's hard to overstate the pocketbook impact" of gas prices, says John Mercurio, senior editor of the Hotline, National Journal's political newsletter. "The Democratic Party senses a perfect storm in scoring political points on this issue."

He believes prices would have to fall below $2.50 a gallon for the issue to lose its impact. And what if prices reach $4? That's a "nightmare for Republicans," says Hotline editor in chief Chuck Todd.


Then Time had this to say:

Until now, Republicans consoled themselves in this worsening political environment with the belief that congressional elections are local popularity contests. Now that the monthly price of driving to work rivals the mortgage payment, gasoline, more than any other issue, could turn this election into a national referendum.


Then Charlie Cook added something very interesting:

Studies show that voters in Bush-friendly red states drive significantly more miles each month than those in blue states, and it's a pretty logical assumption that gasoline usage is much greater in the predominately suburban, rural and small town congressional districts most often represented by Republicans, than in more compact, urban districts usually held by Democrats. That means the longer gasoline prices remain high, the worse it will be for GOP candidates.


34% of the population of Jimbo's congressional district is in the towns of Cicero, Clay, De Witt, Geddes, Lysander, Manlius, Salina, and Van Buren, and I suspect those towns will cast about 40% of the vote. Gas is not cheap, Jimbo can't afford to be hurt among voters in these towns. Whoever wins these towns is probably also going to win the election.

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