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Poll: Public would blame GOP more for fiscal cliff failure


As Republicans and the White House continue to jostle over the "fiscal cliff," the public remains pessimistic about a solution and is largely prepared to blame the GOP if no agreement is reached.

A new poll from the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post shows that only four in 10 adults believe that the two sides will hammer out an agreement to dodge the fiscal cliff by its Jan. 1 deadline, while nearly half (49 percent) believe no deal will get done in time.

The $2.2 trillion proposal floated by House Speaker John Boehner was shot down by the White House, which said Republicans' rejection of tax hikes for the wealthy and sweeping cuts to popular social programs are unacceptable. NBC's Chuck Todd reports.

What's more -- in a trend surely being eyed by the Obama administration -- the public still appears ready to place blame for the impasse on congressional Republicans over the White House by a nearly 2-1 margin.

With a divide similar to public perceptions earlier in November, 53 percent of those surveyed said they would point the finger at the GOP for the failure of the negotiations, while just 27 percent say the president would be at fault.

The fiscal cliff counter-offer issued by House Republicans has one thing in common with last week's White House proposal – neither was designed to win any bipartisan support. The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd reports.

While Democrats surveyed are far more optimistic than Republicans about an agreement (by 55 to 22 percent), all partisan groups appear uncertain about exactly what the consequences of the cliff's automatic spending cuts and tax increases could be. Only about a third of adults overall say they understand the effects of the fiscal cliff "very well," but over 60 percent say those effects will have a "major effect" on the US economy. But not as many respondents think that a tumble over the cliff will dramatically affect their own lives, with 43 percent saying the cuts and taxes would have a "major effect" on their personal finances and 35 percent labeling the consequences "minor" in their own lives.

Yuri Gripas / Reuters

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks during a GOP news conference on the "fiscal cliff", on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 28, 2012.

The survey was conducted between Nov. 28 and Dec. 2 among 1,003 adults. It has a 3.7 percent margin of error among its overall sample of adults.