When fuel prices rise, the party in power often runs out of gas
Given the recent rise in fuel prices, does President Barack Obama have cause for concern in the coming election? Well, 71 percent of Americans says gasoline prices are an "extremely" or "very important" issue to them, up from 65 percent from only two months ago, according to GfK Roper.
History shows that when gasoline prices rise, the political party in power often takes a hit at election time. Whether that's direct cause-and-effect or just one of many interrelated factors is a matter for debate, speculation and partisan spin.
Price at the polls
| ||Gas price trend before election day||Election result|
|1980||Soars 60% in previous 18 months to $1.26 per gallon||Reagan ousts incumbent Carter|
|1984||Down 7% in Reagan's first term to $1.21; flat in 1984||Reagan re-elected|
|1988||Down 17% through second term to 96 cents||Reagan's VP Bush beats Dukakis|
|1992||Rises 26% during Bush's term; up 8% to $1.15 in 1992||Clinton ousts Bush|
|1996||Rose from $1.13 in Jan. to $1.22 in October||Clinton re-elected|
|2000||Jumps 60% to $1.56 from Jan. 1999 to October 2000||Bush beats Gore|
|2004||Up 27% in 2004 to $2.03||Bush re-elected|
|2008||Soars from $1.82 in Jan. 2005 to $4.09 in July 2008; back to $3.17 in Oct.||Obama beats McCain|
|Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration|