Poll: No winners out of fiscal cliff talks
January 4th, 2013
05:52 PM ET
10 years ago

Poll: No winners out of fiscal cliff talks

(CNN) - A new poll shows neither Republicans nor Democrats in Congress weathered the fiscal cliff showdown well, and Americans' views on the agreement are sharply divided along political lines.

The Gallup survey found only 34% of Americans approved of congressional Democrats' handling of the cliff negotiations. Congressional Republicans scored even lower, with 25% approval. Two thirds - 67% - disapproved of Capitol Hill Republicans' handling of the negotiations and 55% disapproved of how Democrats handled the talks.

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After weeks of posturing and behind-the-scenes dealings involving President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a deal was eventually struck between Vice President Joe Biden and McConnell. As the new year began, legally triggering the spending cuts and tax increases collectively known as the fiscal cliff, the deal lumbered through Congress and the crisis was averted - temporarily.

Boehner, the poll showed, registered the highest disapproval for his handling of the situation. But his numbers were within close distance (within the sampling error) of several other key players.

Obama emerged from the talks with a split perception of his role: 48% disapproved of his handling and 46% approved. Fewer respondents registered an uncertain opinion of his role than of any other player.

One half of survey respondents disapproved of how Boehner handled the talks, while 31% approved and 18% had no opinion. He was initially a central player in the talks, negotiating with Obama and offering the first concession from Republicans on tax rates. After pulling his plan B proposal from play, talks then focused on McConnell and Reid.

Reid, the top Democrat in the Senate, scored a 48% disapproval and 27% approval rating. McConnell's score was nearly identical, with 46% disapproving and 28% approving.

The final deal was negotiated between McConnell and Biden, who scored a 42% disapproval and 40% approval rating.

The deal itself was met with mixed reaction overall: 45% disapproved and 43% approved. The split emerged along partisan lines, with 65% of Republicans disapproving and 67% of Democrats approving. Independents were divided 46% against and 39% in support.

The poll did not ask whether or not individuals were relieved or not that the cliff was behind them. For those who enjoy the Capitol Hill showdowns, more remain this year, including upcoming scheduled spending cuts (pushed back by the fiscal cliff deal), the debt ceiling, and funding the government. The current government funding measure expires in late March.

The poll was conducted on January 3 by telephone among 1,026 adults and had a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

Filed under: Fiscal Cliff
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Told you so. The GOP's now at the "fi we're going down, we're taking you with us" stage of their tantrum. As long as EVERYONE is getting damaged by their recalcitrance and shenanigans, then they'll continue to do it..e.ven if they're taking slightly more damage for it. Pyrrhic victory. The point here is to destroy the public's confidence, trust, faith and willingness to participate in the federal government. They're succeeding.

    January 4, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. ghostriter

    There can never be enough polls that can prove to republicans that they are on the wrong side of most issues these days.

    January 4, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. Evergreen

    It was a bob sleigh descent into this financial hell hole. Apparently it is going to be an inch by inch climb out.

    January 4, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  4. Jeb

    Republicans are already talking about creating another crisis in February.

    January 4, 2013 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. Catmandew

    More behind closed doors deals! I seem to remember Obama saying he would make our goverment operations more transparent so we the people could see it in action! Oh dang that was his first term he said that!

    January 4, 2013 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  6. Al

    No winners, that's not true, the deadbeats of the United States are the winners, they will now be able to continue their lives and not have to pay for anything. Those are the winners, they made a choice to live off the tax payers and the White House is just making more rewarding to live off the tax payers and not learn to do for yourself. Welcome to the new the America people once went to America to live the dream of working and earning your place in the United States, now the United States it's not about that, it's about what the country can do for you, unless you have pride and know what America is really supposed to be all about.

    January 4, 2013 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  7. CaliforniaBC

    This is going to just get worse and the public will be judging congressional leaders, especially Republicans, extremely harshly when we have to witness yet another political showdown in March over what should be routine government business.

    The GOP is going to have an a tough time in the midterms, even in those gerrymandered districts.

    January 4, 2013 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  8. greyhackles

    So the President's approval rating is nearly twice that of the Republican Congress, but the author can't pick a winner?


    January 5, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  9. Kate Legler-Saalfeld

    This is a gallup poll. After they way they blew the Presidential election, anyone who trusts anything gallup or rasmussen has to say about anything need to have their heads examined.

    January 5, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  10. The REAL Truth...

    Why is this about who won? The American people are the ones losing out with this do nothing Congress.
    Both sides need to get off their party "high horse" and solve these issue for the COUNTRY!!
    And why to the Repugs believe the POTUS should solve the issue? How about the Houser coming up with a WORKABLE plan that stands a chance of being addressed by the Senate – instead of loading up legislation with liner items that will not be acceptable to the Senate majority !!!

    January 5, 2013 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  11. Whit

    This is the problem with the media. They print the political score card rather than printing the facts of the story. We as Americans don't care about the political score we care about the future of our young nation. We care more about what life style will be available for our children and grand children than a poll of political points on a score card.

    January 5, 2013 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  12. Fortinbras

    Its not so much the result that is disapproved of as it is the brinkmanship involved.

    January 5, 2013 05:29 am at 5:29 am |
  13. Allan

    Read to find out how much pork was in the new deal by Biden and Obama. Good job we now give Holloywood millions more and we give millions to make more Rum...........Raise taxes and give it away , now thats the American way...........Thanks for nothing........................

    January 5, 2013 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  14. American Veteran - Business Owner - Citizen of the US

    Even if our political leaders in DC were all from the same party with the exact same political philosophy on government's role. taxes, and spending, it would still be a hurculean task to get our spending in order; our social security system reformed and strengthened; our tax structure reformed and balanced; and our Medicare costs controlled. The balance between spending control and necessary government programs is a difficult goal in the best of times within the same political party. To tackle this challenge with a split government and mini splits within the political parties, makes this a seemingly impossible challenge. HOWEVER, that is precisely what this country needs at this time. IT will require great leadership from our President. It will require that the public bickering and finger pointing end between the parties. It will require that all egos be checked at the door. This economic battle this nation faces is nothing short of an attack on our country's very existence as a vibrant plentiful nation.Our leaders must come together as they do in war time when our nation is attacked, and work together to overcome the obstacles and challenges we face because this nation is under attack and siege – and those attacks come from within. Nothing short of a bi partisan effort of great minds can fix our nation. I urge our President, and all our leaders to reflect for a long moment on what is at stake; put yourself in the other persons' shoes; dig deep down inside and go to work for all of us. And Mr President, you are not a Democratic President fighting the GOP; you are NOT in this fray – you are above the frayleading and bringing both sides together. If you ever wanted to leave a legacy of hope and prosperity from your 8 years in the Oval office, you have been given a great opportunity – Carpe Diem Mr President – Carpe Diem.

    January 5, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  15. sifto

    Obama has so divided the country that all polls will be severely divided as long as he is the leader–he only works for liberals....

    January 5, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  16. yoshimoto

    You wouldn't think this from the way the liberal media reported on the fiscal cliff. Everybody thinks the Dems won. Nobody won at all because at the end of the day the average American will pay $1400 more in taxes while our deficit goes UP. There were $41 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts. The gutless Congress is afraid to do a thing about our out of control spending which Obama loves because then everybody loves him for giving them all this free money. We are broke folks and we keep digging ourselves deeper in the hole. There is not one adult in Congress. The Repubs finally gave up defending their rich donors, but at least they were trying to cut spending. The Dems don't seem to care how far we go in debt. Well at some point you keep printing money it becomes worthless. Read your history books.

    January 5, 2013 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  17. ttomntucson

    Once they handled it I don't have a problem with their behavior, the problem is the brinksmanship and partisan posturing that made them slap it together at the last minute.

    January 5, 2013 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  18. jpmichigan

    The Senate negotiated a bill filled with gifts to the financial sector. Did any one really read this bill? Or maybe , what has been happening during the Obamas first term, continues a business as usual at the taxpayers expense.

    January 5, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. rla

    Right– Only losers - the American people , the obama administration and the congress??? Make one wonder about the people in charge!

    January 5, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. Rick McDaniel

    The winners were the people with kids.......they kept tax cuts and child credits they don't deserve, just because they have kids. We should NOT be subsidizing people to have children they cannot afford, and then they want government to pay for them!

    January 5, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |