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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Gallup Tracks New Fiscal Cliff Questions

Americans want compromise on the "fiscal cliff."

That message is clear in Gallup's first report analyzing its new tracking measure of the ongoing legislative debate over tax cuts and federal spending in the United States. Gallup asked Americans four questions about the "fiscal cliff" on Dec. 1-2, and will continue to ask these questions weekly until the Jan. 1 deadline, or until an agreement is reached. The key question is how much Americans' views will change as the deadline approaches.

Here's where the majority of Americans currently stand:

  • 60% of Americans are following news about the "fiscal cliff" negotiations at least somewhat closely, which does not rank very high among news events tracked by Gallup in the past
  • 62% would rather see government leaders compromise on their principles and beliefs in order to reach an agreement, rather than stick to their principles and beliefs but reach no agreement.
  • 58% say it is very or somewhat likely that leaders will find a solution before the deadline.
  • 52% approve of President Barack Obama's handling of the negotiations -- a higher percentage than approve of Democrat or Republican leaders in Congress.
Here's the complete wording of each of the questions we are asking:
  • How closely are you following the news about the ongoing “fiscal cliff” federal budget negotiations in Washington -- very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not at all? 
  • Based on what you have heard or read, do you approve or disapprove of the way each of the following is handling the "fiscal cliff" budget negotiations? How about -- [RANDOM ORDER: President Barack Obama, Democratic leaders in Congress, Republican leaders in Congress]?         
  • What would you like to see government leaders in Washington do in the "fiscal cliff" negotiations -- [ROTATED: stick to their principles and beliefs on tax increases and spending cuts, even if no agreement is reached by the Jan. 1 deadline, (or) compromise on their principles and beliefs on tax increases and spending cuts in order to reach an agreement by the Jan. 1 deadline]?
  • Just your best guess, how likely is it that President Obama and the leaders in Congress will reach a solution that avoids the "fiscal cliff" measures before Jan. 1 -- very likely, somewhat likely, not too likely, or not likely at all?
Our future updates on these measures will gauge whether Americans become more or less interested in the negotiations as they press on, whether they shift in their approval or disapproval of the key parties involved, whether they lean more toward compromise as the deadline gets closer, and whether they grow more or less optimistic about the ultimate outcome.

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