Americans on the Fiscal Cliff: Just Get It Done
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The Fiscal Times
December 10, 2012

As the fiscal cliff negotiations continue, Americans are increasingly eager to see a compromise reached, according to the results of a new Gallup poll. Seven in ten people polled said they want to see government leaders “compromise on their principles and beliefs” in order to avert the austerity measures set to take effect next year, up from 62 percent last week. Where 25 percent last week said that politicians should “stick to their principles” even if it means no deal is reached by January 1, that number is now down to 18 percent.

The details of the Gallup poll and other recent surveys suggest that President Obama still holds the upper hand in the talks. Gallup found that Republicans and Independents now favor compromise more than they had a week ago. About two-thirds of Republicans and 70 percent of Independents now say they want to see ideological flexibility, up from 55 percent and 61 percent respectively.

A survey by The Christian Science Monitor/TIPP conducted over the past week and released Monday found that 54 percent support tax hikes like the one Obama has been insisting on for households earning $250,000 or more. Just 19 percent liked the idea of cutting Medicare spending, making that the least popular of the 12 ideas tested in that poll. Republicans have sought such entitlement reforms in the cliff negotiations, saying they are necessary to address the nation’s long-term budget problem.

Obama also continues to get higher marks than congressional leaders for his handling of the negotiations, though his approval ratings on the matter have slipped from 52 percent to 48 percent. Just over a quarter of those polled (26 percent) approve of the way Republican leaders in Congress have been handling the talks, about the same as the 27 percent approval rating from a week ago.

Despite the lack of visible progress from the discussions between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, Americans remain optimistic that a deal will be reached before the end of the year; about 60 percent still say that a deal is somewhat or very likely.

Executive Editor Yuval Rosenberg oversees coverage of business, the economy, technology and Wall Street. A former web editor at WNYC, Fortune and Newsweek, he also writes on a wide range of subjects.