It's a Gas, Gas, Gas
I will be interested to see if tomorrow’s exit polls in North Carolina and Indiana can shed any light on whether the current gas tax holiday debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is having an impact on voter decision-making in those states. It is one of the very few issues in this election cycle for which the two candidates have adopted such distinctly oppositional policy positions. Given how critical a concern gas prices have become, the conflict over this tax relief issue (Clinton, pro and Obama, con) just may provide a nice little (albeit rough) test of whether voters sometimes choose candidates based on their issue positions, rather than on other personal criteria.
I raise this question because last fall I wrote at length about how, despite all the talk of the importance of candidate issue positions leading into the early primaries and caucuses, voters typically make their selections based on more intuitive and emotional criteria, rather than on issue-oriented responses to the candidates. This is particularly true during the primaries, when there are usually few real policy differences between candidates of the same party. This gas tax relief debate has turned out to be an unusually high profile exception to that rule, and may provide some interesting insights into the primary voter calculus.

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