How Democrats Should Be Talking About Energy Prices

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The midterm election is less than two weeks away, and price increases - from food to the gas pump and utility bills – are top of mind for all Americans. Democrats need to speak to voters directly about these issues and address voters’ concerns and Republican attacks head-on with clear, concise, consistent, and confident messaging around their plans to lower high costs and bolster economic growth.

Topline Message

We will not stop until we have energy and gas prices under control. That’s why we’ve boosted our domestic energy production and are using every tool we have to lower the prices families pay to heat their homes and fill their tanks.

Supporting Messages

  1. Democrats are tackling energy costs from every angle, sending 180 million barrels from America's oil reserves into the market, ensuring there are plenty of permits for oil and gas drilling in the US, and convincing a dozen allied nations to increase oil supply.
  2. Since June, oil prices have continued to fall, from over $120 per barrel to $86, today. For families and businesses, that’s nearly a 30% drop, from over $5 per gallon to $3.76 today, roughly what gas cost before Russia launched the Ukraine war, and Democrats are still working to bring them down even further.

Engagement Recommendations

To understand how key voter groups are thinking about energy price issues, Third Way and Global Strategy Group surveyed likely voters across battleground Congressional districts from June 13-20, 2022. Here are three key recommendations for Democrats to use as they talk to Americans across the country: 

  • Champion policies popular with key voters. Democratic candidates running this election cycle should emphasize policies that will increase domestic oil and gas production, hold oil and gas companies accountable for price manipulation and continue to expand clean energy infrastructure to build an affordable, reliable, clean energy future. 
  • Show that you’re taking action and be loud about it! Democrats need to consistently and clearly communicate their accomplishments and intentions to drive down gas prices in as many ways as possible–a tactic that can shift key voter groups towards Democratic candidates by up to +12 points. 
  • Focus on solutions that meet the moment and feel tangible to voters. Policies that offer immediate relief to burgeoning costs, like flooding the market with oil from reserves, are more popular than those that would not have the same effect. For example, while electric vehicles are much cheaper to refuel at the moment, they remain out of reach for millions of Americans. 

Republican Claims & Fact Checks

Republican Claim #1: Democrats are blocking domestic energy production. 

FACT: Democrats have enabled domestic oil producers to scale up drilling in the wake of the pandemic and Russia’s weaponization of global oil prices. The Biden Administration has approved thousands of new drilling permits and Democrats in Congress passed laws that will help get more energy from federal lands and waters to American consumers. Today, America’s oil production is approaching record levels and still growing. 

Republican Claim #2: Democrats’ climate and clean energy policies are causing inflation and driving up prices at the pump. 

FACT: Democrats are delivering clean energy policies that reduce household energy costs, fight inflation, cut the deficit, and make the US more secure. As long as America is reliant on oil, no matter where it comes from, our families and businesses will be vulnerable to global price spikes. Democrats passed legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act to generate more energy here at home from clean sources that create jobs and protect our economy against global instability. These are the kinds of steps we must take to ensure affordable, accessible, and reliable energy for all Americans. 

Republican Claim #3: President Biden and Democrats in Congress are manipulating gas prices for their own political gains and to increase government regulation.

FACT: The price at the pump is the top concern facing voters and we will not apologize for making it a priority to bring down costs. Political gamesmanship may be a familiar Republican tactic, but the welfare of the American people is not a game for Democrats in Congress. That’s why Democrats called on President Biden to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, one of the fastest ways to increase supply and cut costs at the pump, and coordinated with our allies to do the same. Through smart initiatives like the New Dems Inflation Action Plan, we are rebuilding our supply chains, reducing inflation, and refilling American oil reserves to guarantee that we can respond to future emergencies.

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