A fresh batch of opinion polls show waning support for Barack Obama. After the Media spent all of last week praising one, single outlier poll showing Obama improving in his numbers, three new ones this week have him back in the dumps. Much of his problem centers on rising gasoline prices. A Washington Post – ABC News poll shows that 65% of Americans believe Obama is doing a terrible job based on gas prices. A New York Times – CBS News poll shows some 54% blame Obama directly for failing to keep gasoline prices low. If that were not bad enough, a new Public Policy Poll surveying Republicans in Mississippi and Alabama show that people still question what religion Obama subscribes to? In Alabama, only 14% believe that he is a Christian, as Obama claims, while 45% say he is a Muslim and 41% simply are not sure. In Mississippi, the numbers are even worse, 12% Christian, 52% Muslim and 36% are not sure.
So once again we see the Obama White House having a major problem with getting their message out. All of last week, Team Obama went from venue to venue to talk green energy. In various speeches, Obama argued that domestic oil production has increased under his administration. Yet, oil and gas prices continue to inch upwards. For 28 straight days, the national average price for a gallon of gasoline increased. The price has now doubled since Obama took office. During a committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Obama′s energy czar, Steven Chu, said that keeping oil and gas prices low was not an objective for the Department of Energy. Many, including GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, wonder why not?
While domestic oil drilling has increased, it is mainly due to activity in North Dakota on private land, There is actually a decrease of 11% of drilling on public lands this past year. Although much of the most recent price increases for oil have occurred lately due to the ′war talk′ about Iran, prices had begun to climb well before that and had been high even longer. This is partly due to inflationary pressure as the Federal Reserve continues to pump currency into our weak economy. But there is also another reason, recalling an obscure law we had issues with back during the BP oil spill.
Energy market expert, Stephen Schork, who is the editor and principal analyst for The Schork Report, tells of the problems American faces with oil production. Upwards of 30% of the new oil from North Dakota cannot be refined in a timely fashion due to transportation issues. Nearly half of refineries along the U.S. East Coast are either closed or well below operating capacity due to transportation problems, The main problem in both cases is our old friend, The Jones Act of 1920. This is the maritime law concerning ′cabotage′, the transporting of products along U.S. coastal waters.
According to Schork, Obama could make a huge move to lower oil and gasoline prices with granting a waiver to The Jones Act. As most of the oil from North Dakota is piped down to refineries in the Gulf Coast, which are already at maximum capacity, The Jones Act prevents excess oil from being moved by ship to refineries elsewhere. The law requires that such transport must be done only by US flagged vessels with unionized crews. During his 2008 campaign, Obama promised the Maritime unions to uphold The Jones Act, which had been temporarily suspended by George W. Bush in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. You may recall that during the BP oil spill of 2010, Obama refused to waive The Jones Act to allow for foreign vessels, equipped for cleaning up spilled oil, from operating inside US territorial waters.
So is it any wonder that the new series of polls show Barack Obama so unpopular? Both the Washington Post – ABC News and New York Times – CBS News polls show Obama approval numbers declining due to higher oil and gas prices. Both polls show that the American people are upset that Obama is doing a bad job to make gasoline prices lower. While Iran may be responsible for the latest spike in prices, there are other factors which account for as much as 50% of the price of crude oil. Among these are inflation and The Jones Act. As for the Public Policy Poll which shows that a large percentage of Republicans in Mississippi and Alabama still think that Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim, if the shoe fits…