Rising Oil Prices Could Factor in 2012 Race

Thursday, 03 Mar 2011 03:19 PM

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The oil-price surge that has pushed the cost of a barrel past the $100 mark could threaten President Barack Obama’s re-election chances if it continues long enough to disrupt the economic recovery, Nate Silver writes in the FiveThirtyEight elections blog of The New York Times.

History shows that high oil prices, in and of themselves, do not significantly affect the outcome of U.S. presidential elections. President Obama could easily weather gas reaching $4 per gallon if economic growth continues, unemployment keeps falling and inflation remains under control through 2012, Silver writes.

But if a prolonged oil-price rise throws the recovery off track, all bets may be off.

“A particularly severe shock could trigger a double-dip recession, at which point Mr. Obama’s prospects for a second term would be greatly imperiled,” Silver writes.

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