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Inside the Boiler Room: Let's make a deal

While the new NBC News poll shows that most Americans want Republicans and Democrats to make a deal in the budget negotiations, NBC's Mark Murray and Domenico Montanaro explain that some Republicans are hesitant to give in because of potential primary challenges.

Thanks Amy B. Portland, ME for the question!

Edited by NBC's Matt Loffman.



MONTANARO:  I'm Domenico Montanaro, and this is Inside the Boiler Room.  I'm here with my colleague Mark Murray.  And Mark, Amy B. from Portland, Maine, asks, "The general perception is, if we go over the fiscal cliff, the blame will rest with House Republicans.  My question is, why don't Republican leaders sound even the tiniest bit conciliatory towards the President?" 

MURRAY: Well there's I think one simple answer to Amy why there is a lot of Republican resistance to cutting a deal, and that has to do with Republican primaries.  That these folks are looking over their shoulders and saying, 'We see a lot of the same poll numbers that are on the NBC News Wall Street Journal poll that show people want compromise.  They actually want the fact that you end up raising the rates on the wealthiest of income.'  But they also see if they actually cut a deal, they could end up losing their jobs.  And this is even a calculation for House Speaker John Boehner.  If actually completely ends up caving in on almost everything the White House wants, does he even remain Speaker?  So that's a very delicate situation for the Republican Party.

MONTANARO:  Yeah, there are a lot of delicate balances that they have to make.  I do think, though, that Republicans would say that they have been more conciliatory because in 2011, they said that rates, or revenue, was off the table.  Well now they're saying, and John Boehner would say to his great peril because of the speakership, that he's put revenue on the table.  Now that's not raising tax rates. 

MURRAY: Right. 

MONTANARO: Which I think is Amy's point that there's broad support  for raising the tax rates on the top two percent.  But I think Republicans anyway would say that they've been more conciliatory on revenue. 

MURRAY: Right.  And our NBC Wall Street Journal poll actually asks and finds that a majority of the public, 56%, would actually blame both sides equally.  Though, there is a percentage, 24% would blame Boehner and the Republicans more.  Just 19% would blame President Obama.  But when you look at the rest of our poll, it does show that President Obama does seem to have a broad mandate for the things that Democrats are calling for in this budget standoff. 

MONTANARO: Well, but anytime Republicans will see that there's even the tiniest sliver of hope for, within a poll, they're going to use that to go with the ideology that they believe to be able to say, 'See, we don't really have to completely give in.'