by CHRIS CILLIZZA, AARON BLAKE and SEAN SULLIVAN, The Washington Post
A majority of Americans say that if the country goes over the fiscal cliff on Dec. 31, congressional Republicans should bear the brunt of the blame, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll, the latest sign that the GOP faces a perilous path on the issue between now and the end of the year.
While 53 percent of those surveyed say the GOP would (and should) lose the fiscal cliff blame game, just 27 percent say President Obama would be deserving of more of the blame. Roughly one in 10 (12 percent) volunteer that both sides would be equally to blame.
Those numbers are largely unchanged from a Post-Pew survey conducted three weeks ago and suggest that for all of the back and forth in Washington on the fiscal cliff, there has been little movement in public perception. The numbers also explain why Republicans privately fret about the political dangers of going over the cliff, while Democrats are more sanguine about such a prospect.
The blame question is all the more relevant because a near majority — 49 percent — of those polled expect the Dec. 31 deadline to pass without a deal, while 40 percent expect a deal to be cut. Perhaps indicative of which side believes it has the upper hand in the negotiations, 55 percent of self-identified Democrats believe there will be a deal, while just 22 percent of Republicans feel the same. Thirty-seven percent of independents expect a deal; 52 percent do not.
There also appears to be a disconnect between a general sense that going over the cliff would be bad for the country and an acknowledgement of what it would mean for peoples’ lives.
Roughly two-thirds of all Americans say that not meeting the Dec. 31 deadline would have “major” consequences for the U.S. economy, but just 43 percent believe that it would have a “major effect” on their personal finances — despite the fact that taxes would go up on the vast majority of the population on Jan. 1 if no deal can be reached. [MORE]
Via John Cashon