If “fiscal cliff” talks fail, public blames GOP 53%, Obama 29%

In a new WashingtonPost/PEW poll the public says it will blame Republicans, and not President Obama and Democrats, if the upcoming “fiscal cliff” talks should fail.

Wow.  Elections do have consequences.

Public blames Republicans if fiscal cliff talks fail
Source: Washington Post/Pew poll, Nov. 13, 2012

For the uninitiated, here’s what the fiscal cliff is:

On August 2, 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 as part of an agreement to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis. The Act provided for aJoint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the “super committee”) to produce legislation by late November that would decrease the deficit by $1.2 trillion over ten years. If the committee failed to do so, as it in fact had failed to do, another part of the Act directs automatic across-the-board cuts (known as “sequestrations”), split evenly between defense and domestic spending, beginning January 2, 2013.

More from PEW on the public’s attitudes towards the fiscal cliff:

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%).

Even worse for the Republicans, they lose the poll in every demographic except “Republicans.”  Independents, men, even southerners all blame the Republicans if the fiscal cliff talks fail:

Wash Post Pew Poll blames Republicans if fiscal cliff talks fail
Source: Washington Post/Pew poll, Nov. 13, 2012


Wash Post Pew Poll blames Republicans if fiscal cliff talks fail
Source: Washington Post/Pew poll, Nov. 13, 2012


Source: Washington Post/Pew poll, Nov. 13, 2012

Keep in mind, the public hated the Republicans after the 2008 elections too. And in the first few years of the Obama administration, a number of us were concerned that the President didn’t take full advantage of such sentiment to brand the GOP as extremists, and more generally use public ire to push the Republicans into more compromise.  Hopefully, as we wrote about this morning, that has now changed.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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14 Responses to “If “fiscal cliff” talks fail, public blames GOP 53%, Obama 29%”

  1. nancy says:

    Democrats are such jokes. Harry Reid has been SITTING on 38 budgets submitted by the GOP and REFUSES to bring them to the floor. He ALSO will NOT allow ANY input from ANY REPUBLICANS. That is sick and twisted and FLAT WRONG. How many democrats KNOW what is really going on. ZERO PERCENT.

  2. BeccaM says:

    See my post below, and the links to the TaxPolicyCenter.org docs. Lots of tables breaking out what the increased amounts are and which portion of the ‘cliff’ the correspond to. Not the easiest reading, but the data is all there.

  3. Badgerite says:

    Grover Norquist is a poopy-head!

  4. htfd says:

    Personally I feel the “fiscal cliff” is just is more drama, think “debt crises ceiling”. Just more ‘fear factor politics’. What I’d like to see is what it’s going to cost people individually if the Bush tax cuts expire. Broken out just like a regular IRS income schedule. This is what it is now with the tax cuts and this it what it will be without the tax cuts. This way everybody would know exactly what increase, if any they are facing. I suppose people could go back to the 2000 tax schedules (they are on line) to do a comparison with their 2010 taxes.

    Everyone knows they don’t pay income taxed on their gross earnings, they pay them on their after deductions earnings. It’s highly probable that the middle class taxes will not be much more than they are with the tax cuts. Another thing to think about is that a quarter million in post deduction earnings is a lot less than a quarter million in total gross earnings. Look at the large corporations that gross millions/billions and still pay no taxes.

  5. BeccaM says:

    Sadly, most of the public has been bamboozled into believing there is a ‘fiscal cliff’ when in fact it is a fiscal slope that can be retroactively erased at any time.

    Moreover, most probably have no idea how much of the ‘cliff’ consists of the Bush tax cuts versus the other measures (estate tax, affects mostly only the wealthy; payroll tax break and stimulus credits, never intended to be more than short-term measures, and so on).

    For example, according to the Tax Policy Center, a decidedly conservative but generally accurate outfit when it comes to their numbers, the lowest 20% of incomes (about $17k or less/year for an individual earner) would see an overall impact of $420 dollars more a year, with $120 of that from the payroll tax cut alone. Moving up to the next 20% ($17-34k roughly), which is considered to be lower-middle class, it’s $1231/year but $365 of that is again the payroll tax cut which was never meant to be permanent. For the middle 20% ($34-59k), similar story — $1984/year increase in overall federal tax liability, but now it’s $672 due to the payroll tax reduction. The upper middle class ($59-103k) gets hit a little harder because they start getting into the meat of the Bush 2001-03 tax cuts, but it’s still about a third of their overall hit taking the form of the payroll tax cut.

    It’s the top 20% and the top 1% that get nailed good by the full expiration. Their share of the hit due to the payroll tax cut expiring isn’t as much — and that’s no surprise since it stops taking anything from income not much over $100k/yr, but they reaped big windfalls from the irresponsible cuts of the last decade. Also not surprisingly, they didn’t get much of anything from the 2009 stimulus provisions. The top 20% would see their federal tax burden go up an average of $14,173 while the very wealthy, the 1% would see an increase of $120,537. These are the people earning more than a half million dollars a year in taxable income, and does not include capital gains which are taxed at the lower cap-gain rates.

    (Source for most of these numbers: http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/url.cfm?ID=412666 and
    http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2011/06/ny-times-who.html )

    The result? The biggest immediate increase most wage earners would see is the expiration of the payroll tax cut, which again was never intended to be anything other than a short-term stimulus measure. Is the amount likely to be significant enough to be noticed? Probably. On the other hand, what’s being discussed are cuts in programs, pensions, education grants, and health care coverage for the poorest among us. The leaked ‘Grand Bargain’ memo included increasing the Medicare eligibility age as well as increases in premiums and co-pays for Medicare B and D, as well as cuts in covered benefits. It included what they’re now calling ‘Superlative CPI’ — which I guess is their way of admitting that ‘chained CPI’ sounded like slavery (whereas ‘Superlative’ is Thimply Thooper!) — which is a long-term cut in pension benefits for current and future retirees.

    So for the sake of $7, $17, $23, or $46 a week (depending on which of the first four quintiles one belongs to, for each employed wage earner and not including the payroll tax cut), we’re talking about significant cuts to the programs needed most by our young trying to attend college, our returning wounded war vets, our disabled, our elderly, and those who’ve earned their retirement pensions. Either way, regular folks — including the poor and middle class — are merely being asked to exchange one thing (slightly more money in one’s paycheck) for deep cuts in something else (SS/Medicare/Medicaid, Tricare, etc.)

    Oh, and by the way? These numbers are merely averages and summaries. Something like 90% of the poorest in that bottom quintile don’t owe federal income taxes because they don’t earn enough — and that won’t change, even after January 1. 60% of the next quintile doesn’t either, most of them families.

    What’s even more ironic is Social Security and Medicare shouldn’t even be on the table when it comes to deficit negotiations. They have their own dedicated funding sources, through payroll and employment taxes. If they want to make those programs more solvent in the long run, what they need to do is get rid of that payroll tax cut and consider significantly raising or removing the income cap altogether. If they want to talk stimulus, how about higher cost-of-living increases for SS pension recipients and lowing the retirement age so that more young people can get a crack at those jobs.

  6. Naja pallida says:

    Not inspiring at all, is it?

  7. Sweetie says:

    “It is clear we must enter an era of austerity…” — Pelosi

    “But I will tell you that, as I’ve been very clear about before,
    I continue to believe that a robust public option would be the best way
    to go.” — Obama (Jul 20 2009, after his secret deal that killed the public option)


  8. Sweetie says:

    Let’s get rid of food stamps. Soylent Green anyone?

  9. Sweetie says:

    Austerity and the Bush/Obama tax cuts on the rich, falsely referred to as the Bush tax cuts by the media to perpetuate the lie that Obama doesn’t like them.

  10. Sweetie says:

    Because they know the “left” loves austerity so much that a failure would only happen if the Dems were to refuse to give them more than everything they demand.

    “It is clear we must enter an era of austerity…” — Pelosi

  11. guest1 says:

    Democrats need to cut welfare and raise taxes and repubs need to cut military spending, that’d be a nice compromise. It’s already been shown we can cut almost a trillion in spending without touching ss/medicare

  12. mahogma says:

    “We the People” have spoken, not just the rich old white guys. Get used to it, Republicans in Congress; you concede to the people’s wishes now,or wait 2 years to get voted out of office.

  13. Naja pallida says:

    If there are negotiations at all, I consider it a failure on everyone’s part. Obama should just state clearly exactly what he wants, get the Democrats in Congress on board, and not move from that position at all. Not even a little bit. Doing nothing would be better than passing yet another shitty supply-sider Republican-slanted steaming pile of crap bill, which we already know, without a doubt, has no hope in working.

    And really, that’s all the Democrats have to do here to solve many of our problems. Nothing. I realize it is hard to grasp, but the Republicans have spent years painting the government into this corner. They’re the ones who need to compromise, not the other way around.

  14. Gaylib says:

    And the beauty of it is they can’t claim the poll is “skewed!

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