Americans more eager for compromise on fiscal cliff
December 11th, 2012
09:32 AM ET
10 years ago

Americans more eager for compromise on fiscal cliff

(CNN) – With the clock ticking to the year-end fiscal cliff deadline, a new poll shows an uptick in Americans who say that want to see lawmakers reach a compromise, rather than dig in and refuse to sway from their principles.

The Gallup survey released Tuesday showed 70% of all adult Americans want to see Congress and the White House reach a compromise agreement that would avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts included in the fiscal cliff. That's up from the 62% who said they wanted compromise in a Gallup survey conduced last week.

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Similarly, the number of Americans who say they want lawmakers to stick to their principles on tax rates and spending is down – 18% expressed that view in Tuesday's poll, compared to 25% who felt that way last week.

Lawmakers and President Barack Obama must reach a deal on reducing the federal deficit before the end of the year in order to avoid a package of tax hikes and sweeping spending cuts that was agreed upon last year. The two parties have been at odds on raising tax rates on the wealthy, which Democrats support but that most Republicans oppose. Cuts to entitlement spending are also being negotiated, though specifics have yet to be detailed.

Most economists agree a mixture of both tax increases and spending cuts is the only effective way to trim down the ballooning federal deficit.

In Tuesday's poll, Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say they wanted lawmakers to compromise on a fiscal cliff agreement, 73%-67%. Conversely, more Republicans (24%) than Democrats (15%) said they wanted lawmakers to stick to their principles.

Optimism levels on reaching a deal remained largely unchanged since last week, unsurprising given the lack of details coming from Capitol Hill or the White House on any potential deals. Fifty-nine percent said a deal was "very" or "somewhat" likely, compared to 38% who said an agreement wasn't likely to take shape before the January 1 deadline.

And President Barack Obama retained higher approval ratings than Congressional Republicans on handling the fiscal cliff negotiations – 48% of Americans approved of the president's job, compared to 26% who said Republicans in Congress met their approval.

The Gallup poll was conducted by telephone December 8-9 from 1,069 adults. The sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Fiscal Cliff
soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Polar Bear

    "Forgive us, for we know not what we do." Congratulations, you voted for the USSA. When the debt becomes unsubstainable (it is already, we are in denial) and squeezing the "evil rich" doesn't help much – and then life as we know it comes crashing down – then, and only then will most who voted for the Supreme Socialist get the rude awakening they deserve. When more turns into none, none at all, what will all those with their hands out do then? It's coming. Inevitable.

    December 11, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. Nathan Kettner

    A 10% across-the-board cut to the fed govt is a good start. I hardly consider it a cliff.

    December 11, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Jonesy

    Now the GOP says they'll "give" Obama his tax hike on the wealthy, but they'll stall any attempt to raise the debt ceiling in March 2013. In other words: the GOP will once again throw the nation under a bus.

    I have a better idea. Throw the GOP under a bus! Don't allow the GOP to reign over yet another downgrade to the nation's credit rating!

    December 11, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. ER

    It's a shame that even voting doesn't work anymore. GOP should be ashamed.

    December 11, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. peak

    Ray,....and repubs have continued with pushing for tax breaks for the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. See most Dems can see a need to change SSI, Medicare. But most repubicans still think that you can fight two wars AND lower taxes and when that doesn't work, just have poor people fend for themselves or take away what people PAID into SSI and MC and call it an entiltlement. The fact that uber wealthy pay less % in taxes than cops and teachers says it all about the republican way. I guess when they pay no taxes on their capital gains taxes, who will be paying for everything then????

    December 11, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. Hu Phart Ngau

    Only 26% of the Republicans in congress meet with public approval? Then why do we keep voting in these increasingly irrelevant hard-heads?

    December 11, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. bryan

    The alarmists and fear-mongering sore losers comparing the US to soviet russia are so ignorant its hilarious.

    II wont enable their antics anymore than saying its one of the better "lol's" ive gotten all morning....
    Followed by brutal depression upon realizing they are legally entitled to vote.

    December 11, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. michael

    The GOP is acting like a bunch of spoiled little brats. I think a bunch of kindergarten kids could do a better job. These are the excuse for ADULTS that are running our country???

    December 11, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. byallmeans

    Obama is getting exactly what he wants by not compromising.

    December 11, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. achtman

    That more Democrats than Republicans are willing to compromise bodes ill for our future.

    December 11, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Name

    Raise taxes, cut entitlements not for the older people who earned and need it but for the young who are taking advantage of it. Cut foreign aid. Open up areas for drilling create more jobs.

    December 11, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |

    Even if Republicans were to agree to a tax rate increase on the rich there would still not be a deal. Obama is only promising to cut spending and reform entitlements sometime later in 2013. Republicans are not going to trust Obama on just a promise. Democrats made the same promise to President Regan and the first President Bush, and then did not follow through on their promise to cut spending.

    So here is what the Republicans should propose. Agree to the tax rate increase for the rich in exchange for a set amount of spending cuts and entitlement reforms to be worked out by the end of 2013. The Bush tax cuts for the middle class would be made permanent. The catch to keep Obama honest on the spending cuts and entitlement reform is that the tax rate increase on the rich would go back to the current rates permanently in 2104 if the spending cuts and entitlement reforms are not passed by the end of 2013. No spending cuts and entitlement reform then the tax rates for the rich revert back to the Bush tax rates for them. That would put us right back to where we are now. Also Obama would continue to own trillion dollar deficits as far as the CBO can see.

    December 11, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. bryan

    "Hu Phart Ngau
    Only 26% of the Republicans in congress meet with public approval? Then why do we keep voting in these increasingly irrelevant hard-heads?"

    -Gerrymandering....and supreme ignorance/stupidity....Mostly the Gerrymandering though...

    December 11, 2012 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. CPA

    Tax code was written not be fair but to promote economic activity. 90 Percent of people who qualify for those breaks are Business Owners and Investors. Business Owners/Investors have more at stake than just the normal average joe. It would make sense for them to get rewarded for taking on the risk of opening and maintaining a business or investing in other business/commodities/etc. all those things promote expand the GDP. This is not a class war. This is just a fight of ignorance.


    December 11, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. John

    So when is Obama going to compromise?

    December 11, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. Sniffit

    No the Obama plan is 1.6 Trillion in revenue and only 400 billion in cuts. thus for every dollar earned only 25 cents cut."

    Right. Because the quote directly from the White House website that I provided is somehow magically not correct?

    The $1.6T is over a decade...i.e., $160B per year. Guess what you get if you multiply $160B per year by $2.50? That's right, $400B per year. THAT IS WHAT HE PROPOSED AND IT IS EXACTLY WHAT I SAID: $1.00 in revenue for every $2.50 in cuts.

    December 11, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "Only 26% of the Republicans in congress meet with public approval? Then why do we keep voting in these increasingly irrelevant hard-heads?"

    Gerrymandering. The House GOP lost the popular vote, but kept control because they controlled enough states to rig the system in their favor.

    December 11, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  18. annieL

    President Obama is the only hope for working people who never get rich working their whole lives. And if he is willing to compromise even "a little" on Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits (which pays nursing home care for the elderly who have exhausted all their savings), then he is making life harder for people who have already sacrificed and continue to sacrifice when they get laid off in every recession, every time they don't get a meager cost of living raise, every time healthcare costs go up, every time energy and food prices go up, every time interest rates on their CDs go down or the stock market crashes their 401Ks, every time jobs are outsourced or destroyed in corporate "downsizing" and "restructuring." Either he will fight for us who are backbone of the American economy or he will deliver yet another blow to us. It's that simple

    December 11, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Barney

    Wow, the GOP is getting really bad at this. They are more fearful of looking weak than they are about doing the right thing. The irony is that if they did the right thing, it would help them in the next election....IT IS A NO LOSE SITUATION. If the GOP allows Obama's plan to go through, they a) Can say they supported the plan next election and that's why it was successful and/or b)If it fails miserably, they can say that they were forced into agreeing to it even though they had reservations. Either way, they look mature and reasonable and in the end it will help in the next election. If they keep pushing, they are pushing more folks away. The people have voted, and much of that majority vote for the Presidency had to do with the economy. We have voted for Obama's plan, in other words. If the GOP was politically smart these days, they'd go ahead and do exactly what Obama's plan is. It will help them in the end.

    December 11, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Carlos

    What is he going to do with all the money, buy Islamic governments that do not like us? Pay for all the refugees from Asia their housing, health and transportation needs? Continue to pay the union boss, the investors making a buck off the people’s money under false pretense to the bondholders, allowing anchor babies government jobs and drivers licenses before they become citizens? What other nations will loan us more money? Will we be Greece in six months? I served my country and I just don't know why I do not have a Government issue car, housing or health insurance?

    December 11, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. rs

    The GOP has become little more than Taliban-like terrorists for the 2%. I remember when they were the party of big ideas that actually worked for the success of America and a hearty middle class. They were once the party of crisp, thoughtful foreign policy and not just a puppet of Israel.
    They are no longer useful, or even good for our country. They attempted to spend America into a giant debt so that they could kill entitlements (and hurt the vast majority of Americans). They are sick and perverted tools of the rich and need to be kept from power.

    December 11, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. independent thinker

    Here is the reality check. Obama is taxing the middle class and everyone is too blind to see it.

    A family of 4 making 250K in the northeast is not rich by any stretch of the imagination. I have an idea....why don't we say that every single person income making 63K a year is rich. Does this sound obsurd to you?....Well that is basically what we are saying anyway isn't it? Take 250K and divide it by 4.

    The reality is all are taxes are going to go up!! Obama is already taxing the middle class, he is just calling them rich. Pretty clever!

    The government is bankrupt!!! And that is not even the biggest problem. The bigger problem I see is that the solution the government came up with is lets create more programs!!! That is a great solution.

    December 11, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Ancient Texan

    Jeff Cox- If Obama is a centrist then John F. Kennedy was a radical far right wing Conservative Republican. Also the GOP is offering compromise by giving in on tax increases, Obama is giving on NOTHING !

    December 11, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. MKB

    Isn't there some way that American's that want the GOP to compromise can get the word to them pronto!!! I'm sure they never actually see letters of protest because their staff cull them. I am not a Republican, but I am very sick of their antics & games they play when it comes to these issues. They are not doing this for their public but for themselves and the big companies that support their reelection coffers. The American public is getting tired of this behavior and would like to get this message across to them!!!

    December 11, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. Blinded by the republican lie

    What a nasty look on bone heads face...the disdain is gonna continue and the hiisy fits by these folks won't let up...I say keep taking it to the people Mr. President!!!

    December 11, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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