As the president and congressional leaders begin negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff” deadline at the end of the year, there is widespread public concern about the possible financial consequences. More say the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to take effect in January would have a major effect on the U.S. economy than on their own finances. But nearly identical majorities say the effect of the changes would be mostly negative for the economy (62%) and their personal financial situation (60%).
The public is skeptical that President Obama and congressional Republicans will reach an agreement by the end of the year to avoid the fiscal cliff. About half (51%) say the two sides will not reach an agreement, while just 38% say they will. If no deal is reached, more say that congressional Republicans would be more to blame than President Obama (53% vs. 29%).
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post, conducted Nov. 8-11, 2012, among 1,000 adults finds sharp partisan divisions over prospects for a deal to avoid the fiscal measures from automatically taking effect.
Republicans are particularly skeptical: By a 66%-25% margin more think an agreement will not be reached. By comparison, Democrats are about as likely to expect a deal to be made (47%), as not (40%). Among independents, 51% do not think President Obama and Republicans and in Congress will come to an agreement, while 37% think this will happen.