A new NBC/WSJ poll shows that Americans are getting increasingly concerned about the fiscal cliff. Seventy-seven percent of responds have seen, read, or heard news coverage about the issue and fully 46% of the public believes that the fiscal cliff is a very serious problem.
People’s concern over the cliff and the deficit has them willing to contemplate cuts to programs that they themselves care about, or to accept a tax increase.
This concern has driven the people to demand compromise, at least in theory. About two-thirds of Americans say they want their elected officials to come together and make compromises in order to gain consensus on the budget deficit.
Democrats are more willing to compromise in theory, with 70% saying their leaders in the House and Senate should make compromises and only 25% saying they should stick to their positions. Republicans are less likely to embrace the idea of compromise, with 59% of them supporting it and 37% opposed. However, this represents a new high in Republicans’ willingness to compromise.
But when it comes to specifying what exactly their own side should give up to the opposition, neither Republicans or Democrats seem particularly willing to concede anything.
Ironically, the one compromise that significant numbers of Democrats were willing to consider was continuing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy while the only compromise Republicans would entertain was raising tax rates on those individuals.
So to summarize: The people are demanding compromise, they’re just not willing to give the opposition any of its demands. Looks like we’re in for some more gridlock.