With efforts to reach a deal on avoiding a plunge off the fiscal cliff at a standstill, public opinion remains pessimistic, a new poll finds.
The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post, conducted Nov. 28-Dec. 2 among 1,003 adults, shows 40 percent expect a deal between Congress and President Obama by Jan.1, but 49 percent expect no deal.
If that happens, congressional Republicans are more likely to take the blame: 53 percent pointed a finger at the GOP; 27 percent at President Obama -- opinions that haven't changed since early November.
Democrats continue to be much more optimistic about prospects for a fiscal cliff compromise. A majority -- 55 percent -- expect Obama and congressional Republicans will reach an agreement before Jan. 1; Just 37 percent of independents and 22 percent of Republicans say an agreement will be reached.
"Most Americans feel like they have only a dim understanding of what might happen if the automatic spending cuts and tax increase go into effect. Just 28 percent say they understand the possible effects very well, while 29 percent understand them fairly well," the poll says.
"Nonetheless, the public continues to see dire consequences – both for the nation’s economy and themselves – if the government goes over the fiscal cliff. Roughly six-in-ten say the impact would be negative for both the economy generally (60%) and their own personal finances (61%)."