CNN: Rising gas prices are bad news for Democrats

CNN had two of their reporters on air for a segment on rising gas prices today and the news from both of them was bad news for Democrats. First up was senior data reporter Harry Enten who talked about how gas prices might impact the midterms.


“This year is off the charts, right? It’s ridiculously high, the growth rate right now,” Enten said. He continued, “I’ve done this a few times on air and each time the now number goes up, up and up and up.” He was referring to this graphic seen above which shows the current surge in gas prices is higher than in previous midterm cycles.

Enten said the correlation to bad news for the incumbent party wasn’t perfect but in this case the gas prices are part of a “larger economic context” all of which boils down to Americans being “really not happy at this point.” Enten went on to point out that the economy was far and away the top issue. Other issues like gun control and abortion don’t even come close.

Next up was reporter Matt Egan who was doing a stand-up from a gas station in New York. “Unfortunately, probably no relief is coming and people are not happy about it,” Egan said. “At this gas station in Manhattan gas is now selling for $6 a gallon,” he said.

Just a few days ago, Ed noted that analysts were predicting regular gas could hit $5 a gallon by June 17. But according to AAA, the national average is up 25 cents in the past week to $4.86. Now Tom Kloza, the energy analyst who tracks prices for AAA, says $5 a gallon gas could happen as soon as this weekend.

“I think we reach $5 somewhere between this weekend and Juneteenth/Father’s Day weekend,” he said…

There are 10 states, plus Washington, DC, where the average price is already at $5 or more: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Several more are within a penny of $5, so those states’ prices are likely only a day or two at most from crossing the mark.


But that’s not a stopping point. Kloza thinks a national average close to $6 is a real possibility this summer:

As school let out and summer travel picks up, so will gasoline demand and price, he said.

“Anything goes from June 20 to Labor Day,” Kloza said. “We could certainly see the national average approach $6.”

Here in California where I live, we passed $6 for regular gas a week ago. It’s hard to imagine but $7 gas will probably be the average price near me this summer. If you think people are unhappy with the economy now, just wait until the cost of gas for a month is equivalent to another car payment.

The real problem for Democrats is it’s not just CNN that is running these stories. As I’ve pointed out before, rising gas prices are the perfect story for local news outlets to cover and that’s what’s happening around the country. Here’s one from deep blue Massachusetts which aired yesterday.

There are similar stories in Jacksonville, Florida, St. Louis, Missouri, Manchester, New Hampshire, Detroit, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin airing today. And that’s just a small sample. Basically, this message is getting repeated all over the country on a daily basis. Even to people who don’t pay attention to national news, this is a story that will penetrate with the lowest of low-info voters.

Whether those stories specifically mention Democrats or Joe Biden or not, the general sense is that prices are out of control with no end in sight. That’s never good news for the party in power. And because it’s distributed locally it’s not something the White House’s spin experts can control. Watch a few of those clips and you’ll see the general takeaway is that the White House is blaming everything on Putin and no one is buying that excuse.


Here’s the full CNN story on gas prices and their impact on the midterms. This goes on for a while with a final segment featuring Rep. Ro Khanna who is calling for the president to do more about inflation. I don’t think he really believes Biden can change this situation very much at this point. I suspect the goal here is to at least look busy and thereby try to limit the damage.

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