More People Think We're Going Over The Cliff, And They're Going To Blame Republicans If It Happens

Barack Obama

Photo: AP

Despite the relative shift in debate on the fiscal cliff over the past day, a new Washington Post/Pew Research survey released Tuesday morning shows that Republicans could still have a tough time winning the battle over public opinion. Two numbers tell the story. First, a clear majority — 49 per cent — think that President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans will not come to a deal by Jan. 1. And second, an astounding 53 per cent said they would blame Republicans if no deal is reached — compared with just 27 per cent who would blame Obama.

Moreover, 60 per cent of those surveyed think the lack of reaching a deal would have a negative effect on the U.S. economy.

This goes back to what two big conservatives wrote last week — that Republicans are “screwed” because they don’t have much leverage, especially in the court of public opinion. 

It was a theme echoed by The Washington Examiner’s Byron York, who gives three reasons this morning why he believes Republicans will eventually cave on raising tax rates on incomes above $250,000:

First, many in the GOP do not believe that raising the rate on top earners from 35 per cent to 39.6 per cent (the rate before the Bush tax cuts) would seriously damage the economy. Second, they know that most Americans approve of higher taxes on the top bracket, and President Obama, having campaigned and won on that platform, seems dead-set on higher rates. Third, they fear that if the government does go over the cliff and Democrats propose re-lowering taxes for everyone except the highest earners, Republicans would be in the impossible position of resisting tax cuts for 98 per cent of the country on behalf of the top 2 per cent.

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