Majority Says U.S. Won’t Avoid Fiscal Cliff Due to Republicans

A majority of Americans expect the U.S. to go over the fiscal cliff at the beginning of 2013 and would blame Republicans if that happened, according to a poll published today.

The survey by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post found 51 percent of those polled said they don’t think President Barack Obama and Congress will be able to agree on a package of tax increases and spending cuts to replace the automatic reductions in government spending and the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts scheduled for Jan. 1. Thirty-eight percent said they expected Obama and Congress to cut a deal.

If lawmakers fail to reach a deal, 53 percent said Republicans in Congress will bear responsibility, compared with 29 percent who said Obama will be at fault and 10 percent who chose both sides.

The fiscal cliff refers to a $607 billion combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for 2013 that were enacted as part of an agreement to raise the federal debt limit.

More than two-thirds of those polled, 68 percent, said the automatic spending cuts and tax increases would have a major effect on the economy, and 62 percent said it would be mostly negative. In addition, 44 percent of respondents said the fiscal cliff would have a significant impact on their personal financial situation and 60 percent of those said it would be mostly negative.

The survey of 1,000 adults was taken Nov. 8-11 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net.

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