That’s the share of Americans who say that President Barack Obama and Republicans in Congress will reach an agreement to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post.
Forty-nine percent said the two sides wouldn’t come to an agreement.
A deadlock would trigger a combination of $607 billion in tax hikes and spending reductions beginning in January, which the Congressional Budget Office and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke say would hurt the economy. It is Bernanke who coined the confluence of baked-in tax increases and spending cuts at year’s end as a fiscal cliff.
Congressional Republicans will bear the brunt of the blame if an agreement isn’t reached, the poll shows. Fifty-three percent of respondents said that Republicans would be more to blame in the absence of an accord, compared with 27 percent who said Obama would bear more responsibility for failure.
“We have the potential of getting a deal done,” Obama said yesterday on Bloomberg Television in his first interview since he was re-elected on Nov. 6. The president called for a “balanced, responsible approach” requiring an increase in tax rates on the top 2 percent of income-earners.
Republicans including House Speaker John Boehner don’t want to increase tax rates and are pushing for more spending cuts than the White House has been willing to accept.
The survey of 1,003 adults was conducted Nov. 28-Dec. 2.