Poll: Americans follow 'fiscal cliff' debate more closely than other stories
November 19th, 2012
05:23 PM ET
1 year ago

Poll: Americans follow 'fiscal cliff' debate more closely than other stories

(CNN) - As the conflict between Israel and Gaza escalates and the investigations into the former CIA Director David Petraeus and attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi dominate the news cycle, a new poll shows Americans are following Washington's debate over the so-called fiscal cliff more closely than the other stories.

According to the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, 36% of Republicans and 35% of Democrats say they are following the debate 'very closley' while only 28% of Republicans and 21% of Democrats are following the Petraeus investigation 'very closely.'

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

The 'fiscal cliff,' a series of automatic tax rate increases and federal spending cuts set to go into affect at the beginning of the new year if President Barack Obama and Congress fail to negotiate a deal on the nation's budget, has Washington lawmakers searching for common ground as congressional approval ratings have hit all-time lows and the weeks wind down to the end of the year deadline.

While Republicans and Democrats have similar interest levels on the 'fiscal cliff' debate versus the Petraeus investigation, the two sides differ on how closely they are following the on-going investigation into the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans. Forty-two percent of Republicans say they are following the story compared to 21% of Democrats and 22% of independents.

In the fighting between Israel and Gaza, Palestinian health officials have said the conflict has resulted in 100 deaths in Gaza - 24 of them on Monday - and 860 wounded since Israel began its offensive in response to what Israel characterized as incessant rocket attacks by militants. Israeli officials say three people have died and 68 have been wounded in Israel as the result of rocket fire from Gaza. The poll indicates 34% of Republicans, 23% of Democrats and 28% of independents say they are following the conflict 'very closely.'

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press poll was conducted from November 16-18 among 1,002 adults. The survey's sampling error is 3.7 percentage points.

CNN's Sara Sidner, Arwa Damon and Chelsea J. Carter contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • David Petraeus • Fiscal Cliff • Libya
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Data Driven

    But ... But ... Benghazi! Worst Scandal Evah!

    November 19, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. insight iowa

    We shouldn't even be facing a fiscal cliff... The House GOPs should have been working on this instead of taking a 2 year vacation. While they cut... they can cut their salary, vacation pay, retirement and healthcare. It's about time they feel what the nation is feeling.

    November 19, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. annieL

    Hey CNN!!!! How about actually REPORTING on the budget negotiations??? For days now, you haven't produced a single new report on what our elected representatives are thinking or talking about doing to us. They hold power over our livelihoods and our very lives by what they decide. Don't you think we have a right to know? Don't you think it's YOUR responsibility to inform us? Earn your paychecks and profits, CNN!

    November 19, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  4. Larry L

    Americans know who is to blame if our Congress allows this economic collapse to happen. Republicans are defending their sugar daddies and have consistently shown a willingness to sacrifice the security of the middle class. They will also work to protect the tax loopholes for big oil, pharmaceuticals, HMOs, and banking interests. They will try to keep the pork flowing to defense contractors even if the Department of Defense does not want the weapons. Republicans in the Senate have filibustered every action – even those they created themselves! Republicans in the House keep talking about abortion issues and even today consider compromise disloyal to their leader – Grover Norquist. Make no mistake – if our nation fails it will be the fault of the Republican Party.

    November 19, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Americans should follow the Fiscal Cliff story. President Obamas re-election confirms that the taxes on the middle class do NOT go up and the taxes on the wealthy to go up. Thats why we re-elected him. If the republicans don't get it together and follow the POTUS ? We the people will throw the obstructionist Republicans OUT of office for good. They better have the message and know what the consequences will be if they continue to destroy this country anymore.

    November 19, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Letty

    Sure we are all following it and have zero faith in our Supreme leaders to do anything. I think there is a portion of the country that does not care, a portion that thinks its imperatve something get done soon so their benefits stay intact, and a portion that hopes nothing gets accomplished (partly out of spite) as they have plenty and have planned (spent heavily on trusts, llc's, and wills) for either occurence. Lawyers have made big or biiger money that last few months and will make even more that last two months of the year.

    November 19, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  7. Shawn Williams

    I am so glad to see both signs finally agree to give a little. It’s a shame that it took for America to fall apart and face one of its biggest recession and so may say depressions for them to realize what is at stack. This country disparately needs the tax breaks if we are to ever to bounce back from this. Big government and the miss use of federal money is more than half the reason why were in this predicament in the first place. We need to renew the tax break and put a cap U.S spending.

    November 19, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  8. carrotroot

    In other words Republicans care about Benghazi over every thing else. While everyone else is following more important matters.

    November 19, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. Stop The Drama

    Give it a rest already! Both parties are posturing for the best deal and they will come to an agreement before the so called "fiscal cliff". This made up drama is incredibly boring.

    November 19, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  10. J'Cincinnati'Redd

    We cannot ignore the national debt that is dragging down our standard of living and threating to make welfare recipients of our children.we are in a national state of of denial.the cure is to get in touch with reality. And that why we all are watching the debt cliff because if we go over you will see a moral decline.as I've said before,the symptoms of societal disorganization that become apparent first in the most marginal segments-the underclass-will eventually afflict the middle and upper classes. the national debt and excessive spending are destroying the infrastucture of our economy.

    November 19, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |