17 August 2012

The politics of gas price fixing #nlpoli

Gas prices used to be a hot political topic in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

A lot of people thought that the provincial government could do a lot about them and, in the process, protect consumers.  Others thought that the government should do something about prices and make it easier for people to get cheap gas.

Yeah, well it didn’t quite work out that way.

Instead, people got a system in which the provincial government and gasoline retailers make out quite nicely. 

Consumers?  Not so much.

And yet they don’t make a political issue of it.

A curious insight into gas prices and partisan identification comes  from a post back in April at the Polls and Votes blog:

Republicans are largely of the view that presidents can do a lot about gas prices, while Democrats are convinced market prices are beyond the power of presidents to control.

Or so it is in 2012. In May 2006, when the CBS News Poll asked this exact question as gas prices spiked during the Bush administration, the partisans had just the opposite theories of presidential control of the economy:

If your party controls the White House, you are more likely to understand that the market drives gas prices and the President has little impact.  If your party is out, then you think the President can and should be doing something about gasoline prices.

Wonder what would happen if you polled on this subject in Newfoundland and Labrador by partisan affiliation?