As gas prices rise, Obama's ratings go down
It's actually more than gas prices. The fact is, the economy is still in the doldrums in most places and the lack of improvement is hitting Obama hard.
Disapproval of President Obama's handling of the economy is heading higher - alongside gasoline prices - as a record number of Americans now give the president "strongly" negative reviews on the 2012 presidential campaign's most important issue, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Increasingly pessimistic views of Obama's performance on the economy - and on the federal budget deficit - come despite a steadily brightening employment picture and other signs of economic improvement, and they highlight the political sensitivity of rising gas prices.
The potential political consequences are clear, with the rising public disapproval reversing some of the gains the president had made in hypothetical general-election matchups against possible Republican rivals for the White House. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) now both run about evenly with Obama. The findings come just five weeks after Obama appeared to be getting a boost from the improving economy.
Gas prices are a main culprit: Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, where rising prices have already hit hard. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll. Most Americans say higher prices are already taking a toll on family finances, and nearly half say they think that prices will continue to rise, and stay high.
On the economy, nearly 60% give him a negative rating and 50% strongly disapprove of his handling. This has caused his overall approval rating to flip from February's 50-46 approval to 46-50 disapproval.
Obama's GOP rivals are all now either close or ahead of him in national polls. The bottom line is that people still have no confidence in the president's ability to get the economy fully moving again, and the rising gas prices have people angry.
That's a bad combination for an incumbent going into a re-election fight.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky