If President Obama, right, and House Speaker John Boehner, left, don't reach a compromise on the looming fiscal cliff, two-thirds of Americans believe that the economy could face major or crisis-level problems, a new CNN poll states. (Photo : Reuters)
Just how big of a problem is the fiscal cliff that is looming on the horizon?
According to two-thirds of people polled by CNN, it's a very big problem.
A new poll released this week from CNN/ORC International showed that the majority of 1,023 American adults think that the country would face a major crisis or large scale problems if the U.S. went off the fiscal cliff at the end of the year.
At least 68 percent of those polled said that the country would face a crisis or major problems if Congress and President Obama do not come to an agreement to reduce the federal deficit, which would result in tax rates going up automatically in January for nearly every American and major spending cuts in most government spending programs, including the military.
And it looks like most of those polled say that the Republicans would be blamed for any tax increases and spending cuts, with 45 percent saying that the Republicans would be responsible, while 34 percent would blame the president, and 15 percent blaming both.
"Americans definitely feel that they have something at stake in the upcoming negotiations - 77 [percent] believe that their personal financial situation will be affected if the government goes off the fiscal cliff," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
With the fiscal cliff crisis set to affect many Americans, roughly seven in 10 of those polled--72 percent--believed that when it comes to dealing with each other, President Obama and the Republicans should come to a compromise on the issues holding them back from a deal that could avoid the cliff, which Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Barnanke this month warned could lead the country back into recession.
Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that he would be open to changes in taxes, but repeated Sunday only if Democrats are willing to cut federal spending by scaling back entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.
"I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform," he said.
However, people polled in the survey doubt that a deal could be struck in time.
"Americans aren't sanguine about the prospects of a deal. Only 28 [percent] say that Washington officials will act like responsible adults in this matter, with 67 [percent] saying they believe they will behave like spoiled children," adds Holland.
While the fiscal cliff could present a political opportunity for Republicans to show people that the President is not willing to compromise on raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, the poll also shows that the GOP may not have a lot of wiggle room to negotiate.
Roughly 53 percent of those polled has an unfavorable view of the Republican Party, and only 42 percent want to see Republicans in Congress have more influence than the president over the direction the nation takes in the next two years.