Americans less optimistic of a fiscal cliff deal
December 26th, 2012
08:13 AM ET
8 years ago

Americans less optimistic of a fiscal cliff deal

(CNN) – As President Barack Obama prepares to cut his Hawaii vacation short and return to Washington, a new poll indicates only half of Americans believe he and Congress will strike a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff by the year-end deadline.

The Gallup daily tracking poll released Wednesday showed 50% thought a deal was very or somewhat likely, compared to 48% who said a deal was not likely. That's a much tighter margin than a poll taken earlier this month: On December 9, 59% said a deal was likely, while 38% considered a bargain unlikely.

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In mid-December, there were signals Obama and House Republicans were close to an agreement that would avoid the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that go into effect at the end of the year. But hopes of a deal were deflated last week when some House Republicans refused to support a compromise plan put forth by House Speaker John Boehner.

Wednesday's poll showed just over half of Americans - 54% - support Obama's handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations. That's compared with just 26% who approve of the job Boehner is doing. Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader in the Senate, had an approval rating of 34% for his role in the fiscal cliff negotiations.

Reid is poised to assume a larger role going forward, since the battlefield for cliff negotiations appears to be shifting to the Senate this week after GOP disarray in the House stymied any progress before Christmas.

The major sticking point between the two sides continues to be taxes. Democrats want to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans, while Republicans want to extend lower tax rates for all levels of income.

The White House announced late on Christmas Day that the president would leave for Washington on Wednesday to work with lawmakers on a way to avoid the cliff, cutting short his vacation in Hawaii, which began Friday. According to multiple Democratic and Republican sources, no weekend conversations occurred between the White House and Senate leaders from either party or their aides.

The Gallup poll showed 68% of Americans said lawmakers should compromise in order to reach a fiscal cliff solution, while 22% said leaders should stick to their principles and not compromise on either tax increases or spending cuts.

The Gallup tracking survey was conducted December 21-22 by telephone with 1,076 adults. The sampling error was plus or minus four percentage points.

Filed under: Fiscal Cliff • President Obama
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. roy

    I a deal can be made to totally protect the wealthy people and stick it to the middle class a "deal" will be made and the can kicked further down the road.

    December 26, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  2. Washington Is Out Of Touch with reality

    it doesnt matter, obama is going to declare himself the dictator and change the name of America to ameribama and then expand welfare, food stamps and then try to control the people through his own SS Troopers, just as hitler tried.

    December 26, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  3. pk

    It defies logic that the GOP is this stupid and put politics and control over the demands of the people of this country. Just amazing. I actually feel a little sorry for John Boehner...

    December 26, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. Pasquel

    Again with the polls, when will this pres really lead ???

    December 26, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  5. Seth Hill

    It's easy to solve these fiscal problems. Our Senators and Representatives will send emails to their constituents and ask: Do you want to pay higher taxes or cut the military? Do you want to pay more Social Security taxes or cut benefits? Same for Medicare. After getting responses, our representatives will convene in Washinton DC and vote (which is what we are paying them to do.) And then the problems will be solved!

    December 26, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Pasquel asked:

    Again with the polls, when will this pres really lead ???
    Just as a coach cannot coach the uncoachable, one cannot lead those who have sworn themselves to oppose him. Besides, it is consitutionally mandated that all revenue related bills originate in the House. Bohener bailed out on negotiations with Pres. Obama, and decided to write his own party line bill: one that had no liberal input and apparently no Tea Party input when it was written. Boehner bragged about it, and then he cut and ran from it: literally leaving town.

    You're not asking for leadership, your demanding dictatorship. Only a dictator would try to force people to things against their will.

    December 26, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  7. Dallas Orf

    Mr Obama campainged on raising taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" and puts 250,000 income on the table. Of course the GOP will not accpet that. a salary of 250 thousand is hardly a millionaire and in much of the country is bordering on middle class due to the high cot of living. The GOP put 800 billion in tax increases on the table and the president refused it. WHO is stubborn? He doubled his initial request, moving the goal posts and he is NOT offering up the 4 trillion in CUTS originally agreed we need. We have a spending problem not a tax revenue proble. With necessary CUTS I beleive GOP has already compromised on tax revenue now it is up to Mr Obama to live up to his end of the agreement

    December 26, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  8. wirenom

    Amazing how everyone is blaming the Republicans because they won't just lay down and give Obama everything He wants.
    Isn't Obama the one who said he would make the economy better by the end of his term? Didn't his party control Congress all that time?
    Didn't he get re-elected along with even greater Democratic control of congress?
    But yet he struggles to get anything through Congress.
    His party is in the Majority, so they should be able to pass whatever they want. right? Reagan did. Bush did. Nixon did.

    But the Republicans are the blame.

    December 26, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  9. plain&simple

    It's the peoples government and the peoples responsibility to let their representatives know it is unacceptable NOT to reach agreement. Now or in the next session. Thirty or so members of the house may not run this nations government. Take a vote of all members on a deal.

    December 26, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Dallas Orf wrote:

    The GOP put 800 billion in tax increases on the table and the president refused it.
    The GOP had also taken all defense cuts off of the table, and doubled the amount of spending cuts looming in the fiscal cliff, which everyone seems to think will hail a new age of economic ruin. If the Republicans are so convinced that the fiscal cliff is such a bad thing, then why would they propose something that was twice as bad? Because they were not serious. Their proposal was a tactic, put forth merely so that they could make the claim that you just served up.

    December 26, 2012 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. plain&simple

    It's not the middle class we are talking about....It's the WORKING CLASS. When America works the whole system works. The wealthy 2% do not spend the amounts of money needed to keep this economy growing.... not enough of them! The very wealthy keep their money and don't pay their fair share in taxes. They do not create jobs....working folks do by consuming. Wall Street knows this. So push the obstruction and greedy short sighted return to the good ole days dinosaurs to the sideline,and let the work begin.

    December 26, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  12. ted

    Now you shall understand that Obama has a superior intellect compared to all these other good ol white republican low IQ individuals. . Thats what you get when you take a Harvard educated genius and put them in thesame class as people who ascended to power because of money and not because of brain power.Obama is a chess player and he is giving the repubs an a3ss whipping....and they donĀ“t even know it yet.
    Ofcourse Obama knew that the only way to make the republicans bulge on tax increases was to liberate them from lobbysts like norquist. So he made the deal leading upto the fiscal cliff (which at the time was celebrated as success by the repubs). Now when taxes go up january first, norquist and republican opposition to tax increase become irrelevant. Obama can then negotiate a tax reduction, from the increased level. He gets the rare chance to renew the entire system, and comes out as a hero. He planned it all along....and know what...I am his greatest admirer. This guys story shall be told for generations to come. We are witnessing the making of a legend.

    December 26, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    What's the GOP's main objective? We want Obama to fail. Well, even after the President has won re-election, the GOP's main goal is still for the President and the country to fail. I believe the rich has already had their free ride for twelve years. They had a lucrative tax break for eight years under GWB and another tax break during President Obama's first term, yet they're asking for more tax breaks when it was the middle class who had to bare the brunt of our financial ruin and pick up the tab when Wall Street Bankers took bailout money and went partying in the Hamptons and the French Riviera? I believe its time the President and the Democrats stand tall and firm and not give in to these unpatriotic greedy selfish un-American right wing traitors.

    During our financial crisis, millions of middle class workers across this country have had their salaries slashed, have had to accept furlough days without pay, been deprieved of pay raises and promotions that they've earned, have been forced to contributed a significant portion of their pension to their health insurance while others have been forced into early retirement. All this was orchestrated by the right wing establishment in corporate America so that states affected by our economic decline could balance their budgets as they continue tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. No, that is unfair and it is unacceptable. Subsequently, many social programs for the poor such as meals on wheels have been cut by republicans in congress, funding for thousands of dialysis patients across the country have been cut as well as earned income tax credit for over five million low income families across the country, all to continue more tax breaks for the wealthy. Well, this is what I call REVERSED CLASS WARFARE! I believe the middle class has already done its share and I'm calling on the President and the Democrats to stand tall and firm and say NO MORE to the greedy uncivilized unpatriotic selfish greedy shameless republicans.

    December 26, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  14. Rachel

    Lack of taxes on the American people is not our problem. Its current historical spending that is the problem.

    December 26, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. Rudy NYC


    Amazing how everyone is blaming the Republicans because they won't just lay down and give Obama everything He wants.
    Isn't Obama the one who said he would make the economy better by the end of his term? Didn't his party control Congress all that time?
    No, "his party" had control of "Conress all that time." Republicans have controlled the House for the past two years, and will for the next two years.

    Pres. Obama made that vow to try to "fix" the economy before his first term was up naively believing that he had a mandate. He was unaware of the the self-imposed mandate by Republicans to "make him a one term President."

    Thanks to Sen. McConnell's arrogance and lack of vision, he put the American People on notice what the GOP strategy was going to be. When he made that remark, it was made in the twisted context of keeping Pres. Obama at his word. That he didn't deserve a second term if he couldn't fix it during his first.

    The fact that he economic recovery has been slower than most would have hoped, the majority of Americans still hold Republicans responsible for the slow pace of economic recovery.

    December 26, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. Anonymous

    President Obama and the Democrats offer has been generous at the $400,000 tax threshold.

    Republicans are trying to play cards they do not possess.

    There are less under informed Democratic voters than the Republications suggest.

    The election did contain the tax mandate and President Obama won the election.

    Quit calling Social Security and Medicare entitlements. It is insulting to those who have paid into them for years.

    Republicans should take the deal and run...or lets jump!

    December 26, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |