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Gallup Poll: Americans Not Convinced Gas Prices Will Soon Drop

Aired May 26, 2000 - 1:08 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Despite assurances from government officials, some Americans think higher gasoline prices are here to stay.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Perhaps you're one of them. The Gallup organization has been conducting some surveys.

Gallup Poll editor-in-chief Frank Newport joins us now from Princeton, New Jersey.

What do you got, Frank?

FRANK NEWPORT, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, GALLUP POLL: Good day, Lou and Natalie.

We have data, incidentally, on Memorial Day: 24 percent of Americans will be working. So they'll be -- you're not all alone if you're going to be working next Monday.

Now turning to gas prices, we see a change in American attitudes and it's a change for the worse. And despite all those rosy reports about travel going up this summer, we actually think there's the potential that people could actually be curbing their travel this summer.

Let's look a question that we asked in March, which is these red bars. Then we re-asked it again just a night or two ago in our most recent Gallup Poll. We simply said: Is the uptick in gas prices temporary or is it more permanent. Now in March it was 63 percent over there saying it was temporary. Americans thought they were going to be coming back down. Now, I guess based on the fact that they haven't, the fact they've been going up, we've got a big change here. As of our last poll it's 45 percent temporary, but now you've got up to half of Americans saying they think that this uptick in price is going to be permanent or long-term; very pessimistic finding.

Now we looked at short-term and long-term expectations to kind of hone that down a little more. This is the percent of Americans who said prices will be higher a month from now. And look at that, 51 percent of Americans say they're still going to be going up; as I think a lot of the experts think they will be, at least in the short- term. However, good news in the long-term over here, Americans at least a little more optimistic. Looking ahead six months, only a quarter of them think that prices will be higher then. So, like, maybe this is hope over here. Americans saying at some point this increase is going to have to level off.

Now this whole issue of summer travel, we simply said, are the high prices in gas going to make you travel less this summer? And here's the results: 57 percent no, but 40 percent, 41 percent a not insignificant number of Americans say yes, they will be traveling less this summer. Now to be sure, these tend to be lower income people who usually don't spend as much money. But still, we think that's a fairly substantial figure and may have an impact on what's happening this summer.

That's where we stand right now in terms of American's views on the uptick in gas prices. Happy Memorial Day to you Natalie and also to you, Lou.

WATERS: Thank you, Frank.

ALLEN: Thank you, Frank.

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