You sometimes have to ask yourself: is the GOP on a political suicide mission, nudged along by conservative radio talk show hosts, Fox News and some conservative pundits. The latest poll sounds as if on the issue of the fiscal cliff that’s precisely what’s going on. To wit:
Nearly seven in 10 Americans disapprove of how congressional Republicans are handling the fiscal cliff, according to a poll released Tuesday, with a bare majority expecting a deal to be reached by the end of 2012.
That’s a shockingly lopsidded poll for a party that wishes to win national elections in the future.
Only 17 percent of Americans approve of how the GOP is handling negotiations, while 69 percent disapprove, according to a new CBS News poll. Fifty percent disapprove of how Obama and congressional Democrats are negotiating, while 38 percent approve
EARTH TO GOP: Get this behind you ASAP. You’re reinforcing the “obstructionist” image Democrats painted of you — and you painted of yourself.
Half of Americans think Congress and the president will reach a deal to avert the cliff, which amounts to a package of widespread tax increases and deep spending cuts that will go into effect at the beginning of 2013. Forty-four percent think a deal probably won’t be reached.
An overwhelming majority of Americans — 69 percent — continue to support raising taxes on all income above $250,000 a year, with even a majority of Republicans supporting such a deal. Only 45 percent support reducing government benefits “for people like you,” with 48 percent opposed.
The bottom line: Barack Obama and the Democrats have the upper hand in the argument and in the polls. And in political clout. It’ll take more than Fox & Friends and Sean Hannity to change perceptions about who’s to blame if an agreement is not reached.
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