While most Americans think it is important for lawmakers in Washington to reach an agreement to avoid the looming fiscal cliff, the results of recent polls suggest that a majority are skeptical about whether an agreement will be reached.
The results of a survey by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post showed that 51 percent of Americans do not think President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress will be able to reach an agreement by the end of the year to avoid the fiscal cliff.
Just 38 percent said they expect Obama and the Republicans to reach an agreement, while another 11 percent said they don't know.
Without action by Congress, approximately $600 billion in automatic tax increases and government spending cuts are due to go into effect at the end of the year.
Leaders from both political parties have called for compromise on the issue, although a familiar battle over higher taxes on wealthier Americans could lead to continued gridlock on Capitol Hill.
The pessimism regarding the likelihood of an agreement comes even though a separate USA Today/Gallup poll showed that more than eight in ten Americans think it is extremely or very important to agree on a plan to avoid the fiscal cliff.
The poll showed that 49 percent think it is "extremely important" to avoid the fiscal cliff, while 33 percent think it is "very important" and 13 percent think it is "somewhat important." Just 4 percent said it is "not too important" or "not at all important."
While the USA Today/Gallup poll found that most Americans want both parties to compromise, the results also suggest that people have little faith that they will.
If the two sides are unable to reach an agreement, the results of the Pew/Washington Post poll showed that 53 percent of Americans would blame congressional Republicans, while 29 percent would blame Obama. Ten percent said both would be to blame.
The poll showed that 85 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Independents would blame Republicans, while 68 percent of Republicans would blame Obama.
The Pew/Washington Post survey of 1,000 adults was conducted from November 8th through 11th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
The USA Today/Gallup survey of 1,009 adults was conducted November 9th through 12th and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
by RTT Staff Writer
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