In recent weeks, falling gas prices are renewing hope for Democrats in the November midterms and diminishing one of the sharpest weapons Republicans had in their arsenal.
Earlier in the year, Democrats’ prospects in the midterms looked grim alongside the soaring gas prices, but as Democrats hit the road for the run-up to the midterm election, gas prices receding is the confidence boost they need.
Democratic strategist Eddie Vale noted that decreasing gas prices “takes a lot of the effectiveness out of a cudgel when people aren’t seeing and feeling it as much.”
In June, gas prices hit a peak nationwide average of $5.02; that figure was $1.28 by Friday (September 9), with the national average sitting at $3.74.
The figure is only a $0.56 increase from last year’s national average published in September or a $1.18 increase from September 2019.
But the sharp decline from June to September has weakened the sting on the consumers’ pockets — and likely, the ammunition Republicans can use to attack Democrats.
Republicans have planned to make the midterms about inflation, of which gas prices are a significant component. But recent polling shows voters have turned their attention to other concerns.
A Marist poll places the number of voters viewing inflation as a significant issue at 30 percent, a seven percentage point decrease from July when 37 percent of correspondents placed inflation as their number one issue.
On the contrary, abortion has become a concern for voters. In September, 22 percent of participants cited abortion as their number one concern when heading to the ballot, compared to 18 percent in July.
This is good news for Democrats, who intend to use abortion to take digs at Republicans and motivate voters to turn up on election day.