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.
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:
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.