Poll: Americans Will Blame Republicans If Cliff Not Averted

Tuesday, 04 Dec 2012 04:20 PM

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If Congress and President Barack Obama don’t reach a deal to keep the country from tumbling off the fiscal cliff on Jan. 1, a majority of Americans would blame Republicans, according to a poll by the Washington Post and Pew Research Center.

The majority of Americans don't expect a deal to be reached before Jan. 1, and more than three-quarters of Americans think going over the cliff will have a negative effect on the country, according to the poll by the Washington Post and Pew Research Center.

Fifty-three percent of respondents to the poll said they would blame Republicans for not making a deal to prevent the Bush-era income tax cuts and Obama-era payroll tax cut from automatically expiring on Jan. 1, and more than $500 billion in cuts to the military budget being automatically cut.

Twenty-seven percent of those in the survey said they would blame Obama, and 12 percent said they would blame both.

Those numbers have not changed from polling taken just after the presidential election, and explain why Republicans and Democrats have taken the positions they occupy in the public debate, according to the Post’s The Fix blog.

“The numbers also explain why Republicans privately fret about the political dangers of going over the cliff, while Democrats are more sanguine about such a prospect,” said Fix writer Chris Cillizza.

Americans are somewhat split, however, on whether or not an agreement will be reached, with 49 percent saying there will be no grand bargain and 40 percent saying there will be one.

Eighty-four percent of those in the survey think the effect of the going over the cliff will affect the country — and 64 percent of them believe that effect will be negative. Nineteen percent thought the effect of the cliff would be positive.

Most people think they understand the fiscal cliff and it’s potential effect, with 57 percent claiming to have at least some handle on the concept. Forty-one percent weren’t sure they understood it.

The poll was conducted among 1,003 respondents who answered either landline or cell phones, and has a margin of error of 3.5 points.





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