Poll: GOP to get more blame than Obama if fiscal cliff talks fail
December 4th, 2012
10:16 AM ET
9 years ago

Poll: GOP to get more blame than Obama if fiscal cliff talks fail

Washington (CNN) - A second national poll indicates more Americans would blame Congressional Republicans than President Barack Obama if negotiations to keep the country from falling off the "fiscal cliff" fail.

A Washington Post/Pew Research Center survey released Tuesday morning also indicates 49% of Americans predict the president and Republicans in Congress will not reach an agreement to prevent the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that would kick in at the end of the year, with four in ten saying a deal will be reached.

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Last year Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to a program to reduce the federal deficit that some people refer to as the "fiscal cliff." Unless Congress and the President reach an agreement before January 1, tax rates will automatically rise next year for nearly all Americans and major spending cuts will automatically begin to kick in for most government spending programs, including military programs.

If there's no deal, according to the poll, by a 53%-27% margin people say Congressional Republicans will be more at blame than Obama, with 12% saying both sides should be equally blamed. Among independent voters, 52% would blame Republicans and 21% would point fingers at the president.

A CNN/ORC International survey released last week indicated more Americans would blame the GOP in Congress (45%) rather than Obama (34%) if the fiscal cliff provisions actually go into effect next year.

Fifty-seven percent of those questioned in the Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll say they understand “very well or fairly well” what would happen in January if the automatic spending cuts and tax increases go into effect. Nearly two-thirds say such spending cuts and tax increases would have a major effect on the country's economy, and 84% say those effects would be mostly negative.

Forty-three percent say if the country falls off the fiscal cliff, it would have a major impact on their personal financial situation, with 35% saying there would just be a minor effect.

The Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll was conducted November 29-December 2, with 1,003 adults nationwide questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Filed under: Fiscal Cliff
soundoff (331 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    That's because Dems refuse to accept the truth..........Obama is bankrupting the country.

    December 4, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Brandon M.

    One problem with the GOP right now is that they lack creative, strategic, outside-the-box thinkers. In the art of negotiation, they should couple an increase in the 2 top tax rates with an increase in the cut-in threshhold amounts. In other words, the top tax rate will go to 39.6% and the 2nd rate to 35%, but add a 10% annual increase in the cut-in rate. At the 1 year anniversary, the top tax rate will then be based on 275k, at Yr. 2, $302,500, etc. Additionally, with that concession in the bag, propose SPECIFIC cuts to Medicare and raise the eligibility rate 2 years over 24 months, with commencement starting in 2015, and so on. One of my good friends used to call my sister's ex-fiancee (thank god he's her ex!) the "dumbest doctor he had ever met," and I'm wondering just how smart some of these lawyers and doctors truly are. There are so many creative ways to settle this trumped up deal, but none that are proposed. The Republicans want their "10" position...Got it...But if you want to strike a deal, and the other guy wants "0", most people understand that you lead with an "8" and then get the other side to "2-3". Then you go to 7 and ask your opponent to move to "4". Then, depending on bargaining strength, you either accept a "5" or try and hold out for "6". The GOP is just not going about this wisely, and they have already displayed part of their hand by showing that they fear the cliff. Obama doesn't fear the cliff, and he just won the Presidency. The GOP HAS to understand a "5" would be a decent result....

    December 4, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. veggiedude

    "Obama is the President. If we go over the cliff he is to blame. Don't take the job if you can't take the heat."

    How can anyone blame the president when he agrees to keep 98% of the Bush tax cuts? It is the GOP that wants all 100%. That is hilariously unreasonable. No business would ever bargain like that. But then, the GOP have no business sense and have no idea about job creation. It's all about sustaining their IDEOLOGY that less tax on the rich will create jobs? We are at a historic low in tax rates, and have fewer jobs than ever. It obviously is not working.

    December 4, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. tinwa

    OK Democrats, put your money where your mouth is, write a check to the IRS for anything over 250K that you have. Values on money, stocks, property, evrything. THEN it will all be fair, everyone will be on the same level. This DOES include Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, et al. Or should it just be Repubs?

    December 4, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. TomGI

    Without taxes we can't have 1200 non-combat flights per day shuttling military royalty around the world in super expensive jets so they can impress their hoochies. We can't have 300 catered meal meetings each day in Washington DC so the legislators can sit around and "govern".

    December 4, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. MG

    This is nothing new. The Republicans have been doing this since the New Deal from FDR. It has been proven time and time again that these so called Job creators given huge tax breaks are supposed to reinvest well that has never ever happened ever!!!!! When FDR took us off the gold standard big business tried to over throw FDR and instill a Fascist Capitalist regime like Germany and Italy. Big Business supported by the GOP do not care about the middle class or the poor. The middle class never existed until after WWII because of teh New DEal and this burns the GOP up!!! Now it is the same stuff all over again they continue saying taxes should not be raised for anyone, but what they truly mean is taxes should not be raised for the Rich!!!! I say tax the crap out of them. You make more you pay more, not the current you make less you pay more!!! GOP are fools!!!

    December 4, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Dan

    Raising taxes in a recession is just not sound thinking--I know many think the upper 1% do not pay enough taxes and raising the tax rate on that group only will somehow help the deficit. Well, again it is 1% of the population and the increase in tax revenues will only be a drop in the bucket to close the gap–so let's call it what it is –a "class tax" or a "punitive" tax. The $250m household income is also strange–again, it is a lot of money but living on the east coast it is a small business owners salary–not corporate America or the Wall Street elite. By putting a tax on this group paralyzes hiring and will diminish the salaries of those employed by these people–the more the government takes from them, the more they will have to replenish that loss–and guess where the replenishment comes from. We give a lot of money to the UN–that's money thrown away, we can start there to cut back n expenses

    December 4, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. MontanaSon

    Obama's hard stance is not bluff, because: (1) the economy is going down anyway, due to massive debt and the coming -expense of Obamacare. Thiis way, he can shift the blame to the Republicans; and (2) destroying the existing economy destroys the existing power structure, therefore enabling Obama to rebuild it in his own image. Which, again, is good – so long as the Republicans take the fall.

    December 4, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. Drew

    "That's pretty cute. We're in charge, but if we fail we get to blame someone else."

    Maybe you don't understand that ours is a co-equal government - meaning the executive branch is no more powerful than the legislative or judicial; it is EQUAL. So no, we're not "in charge," Boehner has an equal say in success or failure.

    December 4, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Mike

    Of course. Just because we are the Nanny Nation....yep, got too blame the Reps.

    December 4, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. veggiedude

    "So its still Bush's Fault?"

    When Bush left office, it didn't matter who was to follow – the debt was set to go up $8 trillion over the next ten years. This tidbit of trivia to be found on Politifact.

    December 4, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. John

    NOPE! Obama is the President. He was re-elected, much to the horror of this country to bring Congress together. He has not and will not do that. If we go over the fiscal cliff, the blame goes directly to him.

    December 4, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. ARqueen

    Of course the polls show that people believe the fault lies with the republicans. Main stream media, including and especially CNN, cover Obama's behind at every turn, and most people won't take the initiative to investigate for themselves exactly what is going on. Therefore, they believe the crap they are fed by the 6:00 news every night. I love how liberals continually say the Republican party is the party of "no", yet Obama cannot think of anyway to solve this problem, except taxing the "rich" more. Even though it has been proven over and over that his tax the "rich" more plan will not fix the problem!! Exactly which side is deaf??? Compromise takes BOTH parties, not just the Republicans bowing to "King" Obama's demands.

    December 4, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. Paul Williamson

    The Republicans are going to lose big on this one. Boehner is finished as Speaker, he has shown no leadership or responsibility, cannot control his caucus, and licks the boots of Norquist, a traitor to the US who, along with his Palestinian Arab wife, wants to destroy this country . The great majority of Americans believe the rich are not paying their fair share, and the Republicans are lackeys to the Koch Brothers, etc- the selfish rich pigs, who, although they own 90% of the country's wealth, think it is not enough, they want it all. Wait until 2014, the Democrats will win the House, we will get rid of the bums, and get something accomplished for the country.

    December 4, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  15. golubchik

    Raise taxes on super rich , that is the only way they are responsible for something . The infrasructure of this country is falling apart ,the education too, Tax them to the Max

    December 4, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  16. Josh


    So having the money take money from one set of people to give to another set of people is not socialism, what is it? Also, the more money you take from the private sector the less they have to spend in the economy. Also, if you don't like the military spending maybe you shouldn't use the internet since computer networking, which led to the internet, was a military project. The military R&D spending is the only thing that helps this country. Also if you want to talk about adding to the deficit let us look at our current president. He wants to take the money that is borrowed for wars and instead borrow it for healthcare.

    December 4, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  17. MikeInDM

    Medicare and Social Security are NOT entitlements. You pay into them with each and every paycheck. Entitlements are tax subsidies on gas/oil production, reduced taxes on capital gains, rich people who feel 'entitled' to pay less money than middle class people.

    Don't blame Obama! It isn't his job to pass legislation. His job is to sign or veto when it's passed.

    December 4, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. carlos

    People are clueless if they don't think higher taxes on the "rich" won't be passed on to the end consumers, all of us. The Govt. is so wasteful and inefficient that even if you believe in wealth re-distribution, most of the money collected in taxes will be wasted and spent on crap for special interests and not the general welfare of the citizens. It will line the pockets of the pollitial figures and their cronies on both sides. Unfortunately most Americans don't get. We need to pare down the Govt. and is cases where needed add abck for programs that are truly beneficial to everyone, and the way to do it initially is scale back Govt funding, not give them more money and power.

    December 4, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Bi-Partisan Blame

    Both sides are to blame. Neither seems to understand the concept of compromise and what it means to negotiate which doesn't mean saying "take it or leave it." Instead of posturing on TV, battling news releases, accusation by proxy, and traveling across the country to "take it to the people," all parties should lock themselves into a room in DC and not come out or make any public statements until they've hammered out an acceptable deal that they've all agreed to and in which all sides have yielded something. In other words, they need to do the jobs we elected them to do and stuff their egos.

    December 4, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  20. alpeaston

    This might be the death knoll for the republicans and they certainly have earned it!

    December 4, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. n222s

    Of course Republicans will be blamed. And, of course, that is why we will go over the fiscal cliff. It only serves to empower Obama. 1 – Go over cliff. 2 – Blame Republicans 3 – Use Executive Orders to go over debt limit, spend more, etc. If he signs a deal he is part owner. And then, if the economy remains stagnant, only THEN will receive any blame for it. Even if his exec orders fail he will blame it on Republicans blocking his way.

    Along those same lines, please tell me progressives, one negative thing that has happened over the past four years that you feel is Obama's fault. Just one thing. And no...some insipid response like "trying to work with Republicans" is not what I am looking for in a response. I want one thing that cannot deflect any blame upon Republicans. At all.

    My point is that you won't assign him ANY blame. None whatsoever. And...he knows it and will use it. Be careful, however. What happens if he, or a subsequent President, should ever decide to use that blind loyalty against you?

    December 4, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Boodrow Malone

    Deal fails, its the Republicans fault. Get a deal, it is because Obama is our glorious leader.

    95% of the press including CNN will report it just like that.

    December 4, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Kenman

    Somehow Obama gets away with repeatedly making the hollow statement "the buck stops with me" but CNN and the other discredited liberal media does everything in its power to be sure that the "blame" does not!

    Without a media willing to betray the American people at every turn, this man could not have been elected a state Senator; well, maybe from Chicago, the most notoriously corrupt political machine in the nation.

    December 4, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. darknesscrown

    "Obama said he couldnt fix Washington from the inside, because he is never there! How about compromising some vacation time and getting to the table and working this out?" -- Are you insane? Obama has worked very hard I think. Harder than Bush did. Bush acually had a press room at his Midland, TX compound because he was away from Washington DC so much...if you want to play that game. But obviously, you don't understand that the President can govern from anywhere and everywhere. He doesn't need to even be in Washington to negotiate with Republicans. You seem to be more concerned with the APPEARANCE of looking busy than actually BEING busy. I think Obama has done more for this country, relatively speaking, in 4 years than his predecssor did in 8.

    December 4, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Eulas Watt

    Short term the GOP will get most of the blame. History will look back and see that this happened on obama's watch. He is unable to sucessfully lead this country. Oh I know, it's Bush's fault.

    December 4, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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