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CBS NEWS POLL For release: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 6:30 pm ET The Looming Fiscal Cliff

December 12-16, 2012

Americans overwhelmingly want both sides to compromise and make a deal on taxes and spending cuts, because they foresee major economic problems without a deal. But just half expect a deal will be struck, and more disapprove than approve of how the President and the Republicans in Congress are handling the negotiations. Both sides face a public that continues to be dissatisfied even angry at the way things work in Washington. Republicans receive more blame for gridlock in Washington than President Obama and the Democrats. On the heels of his re-election last month, the Presidents job approval rating is 57% -the highest since the killing of Osama bin Laden.

A Deal to Avert the Fiscal Cliff? Americans expect economic consequences if there is no deal in Congress and the country goes over the fiscal cliff the combination of tax increases and spending cuts that will automatically go into effect unless the President and Congress reach an agreement before January 1st. The stakes are seen as high: more than nine in ten expect there to be economic problems if no deal is reached, and a majority expects major problems for the U.S. economy. Whats at Stake: Economic Problems if No Deal Major problems 53% Minor problems 38 No problems 4 And only half of Americans think a deal will be made. More than four in ten expect the country will go over the cliff, and automatic spending cuts and taxes will take effect. Democrats (58%) are much more optimistic about a deal than Republicans (38%). Will a Budget Deal Get Done? Probably will 50% Probably wont 44 Right now all parties involved -- the President and Democrats and Republicans in Congress -receive negative marks for how they are handling the negotiations over taxes and spending cuts. But the public is more critical of the Republicans in Congress on this matter, and more approve of how the President and Democrats are handling these negotiations than approve of Congressional Republicans. Handling of Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Approve Disapprove Obama and Democrats 38% 50 Republicans in Congress 17% 69 1

Americans want to see both sides compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff -- very few Americans want one side or the other to stick to their positions at the expense of a deal. What Should Both Sides Do? Obama & Democrats should Compromise 78% Stick to positions 16 Republicans should 81% 13

As negotiations over the fiscal cliff continue, three in 10 Americans are following news about those talks very closely, and another four in 10 are following it somewhat closely. The Politics of the Fiscal Cliff The President, specifically, gets high marks for his handling of tax policy, but not for his handling of the federal deficit. Obamas Handling of Taxes, Deficit Approve Disapprove Taxes 52% 41 Budget deficit 37% 51 The two key figures in the negotiations, President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner, elicit different views from the public. The Presidents personal favorability is at 49% and higher than negative views of him (34%.) The Speaker is, unsurprisingly, less well-known. Most Americans (57%) have no opinion of him. Those that do give him unfavorable marks by three-to-one. Views of President Obama, Speaker Boehner President Obama John Boehner Favorable 49% 11% Unfavorable 34 31 Unsure/Havent heard 16 57 Views of the Parties, Washington Views of the two parties have diverged a bit lately: favorable views of the Democratic Party have ticked up since the fall, while favorable views of the Republican Party have decreased. 51% of Americans now hold a positive view of the Democratic Party, while favorability has fallen for Republicans, to 31% from 36% last fall. Views of the Political Parties Now 9/2012 Democratic Party Favorable 51% 49% Not favorable 41 43 Republican Party Favorable 31% Not favorable 60 36% 55

Democrats, fresh off a Presidential win, are happy with their party: 87% have a favorable view of it. But Republicans are comparably less enthused: fewer, 63%, of rank-and-file Republicans have a favorable view of their party today.

Right now Republicans get nearly twice as much blame for general gridlock in D.C. as Barack Obama and the Democrats. One in five blames both sides equally. This hasnt changed dramatically since the election. Who Do You Blame More for Gridlock in Washington? Now 9/2012 Republicans in Congress 47% 44% Barack Obama and Democrats 24 29 Both equally (vol.) 21 19 As one might expect, views on who is to blame break sharply along partisan lines, but independents blame Republicans more. Similarly, few are enthusiastic or even satisfied about the way things are going in Washington. Most 54% - are dissatisfied and another 21% are outright angry. This also hasnt changed much in the last year. Feelings About Washington Now 8/2011 Enthusiastic 3% 1% Satisfied 19 14 Dissatisfied 54 56 Angry 21 28 Policies to Reduce the Deficit Raising taxes on those with incomes of $250,000 or more is by far the most popular of the deficit-reduction measures tested in the poll; it is the only one that receives majority support. Americans are divided on reducing government services and programs that benefit people like themselves; 45% favor that, while 48% oppose it. Majorities oppose other measures tested. Measures To Reduce the Deficit Favor Raise tax rate on $250K 69% Reduce govt programs for people like you Reduce defense spending Reduce SS benefits for higher incomes Eliminate deductions for charity Raise retirement age for Medicare Eliminate mortgage deduction Personally pay more in taxes 45% 42% 39% 33% 32% 30% 29% Oppose 29 48 54 57 62 64 62 68

As the current debate in Washington demonstrates, there are political differences when it comes to raising taxes and reducing government programs. 84% of Democrats, and 66% of independents, favor raising taxes on higher income households. Even a slim 51% majority of Republicans support this measure for reducing the deficit. There are large partisan differences on cutting government spending; 58% of Republicans favor this, while 60% of Democrats oppose it.

Views on Two Measures To Reduce the Deficit Reps Dems Inds Raise tax rate on $250K Favor 51% 84% 66% Oppose 46 15 30 Reduce govt programs for people like you Favor Oppose 58% 32 33% 60 48% 46

The poll also asked which of two policies Americans prefer: a plan that includes raising tax rates on higher income households, eliminating some tax deductions and making some government spending cuts, or one that does not raise tax rates, but eliminates more tax deductions and includes greater spending cuts. More prefer the first option. Which Type of Plan Do You Prefer? All Reps Dems Inds Raise taxes on incomes $250,000+, Eliminate some deductions, Some spending cuts 52% 32% 69% 49% Do not raise taxes on incomes $250,000+, Eliminate more deductions, More spending cuts

40

59

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There are political differences on this question as well: 59% of Republicans prefer the second option, while 69% of Democrats prefer the first one. The Economy and Jobs Views of the local job market have risen quite a bit over the past two years; 44% now think its in good shape, up from 33% in early 2011 and just 27% in July 2010. Condition of the Job Market in Your Area Now 2/2011 7/2010 Good 44% 33% 27% Bad 52 63 71 About a third thinks the local job market is improving, also up from previous polls. Now 35% 15 46 Job Market in Your Area In Next Year 2/2011 7/2010 12/2009 28% 28% 39% 12 14 18 56 56 41 12/2008 17% 41 41

Better Worse Same

Compared to just a few months ago, fewer Americans are worried about a job loss in their household.

Very Somewhat Not at all

Concerned About Job Loss in Household? Now 9/2012 2/2012 12/2011 2/2010 30% 36% 38% 32% 31% 26 25 27 27 26 43 37 35 40 41

4/2009 44% 26 30

Views of the economy overall have remained steady in the last few months, and are more positive than they were a year ago. Condition of the Economy Now 10/2012 9/2012 29% 32% 31% 69 67 68 12/2011 19% 81

Good Bad

Similarly, about a third of Americans think the economy is improving, also unchanged recently and more optimistic than last December. Direction of the Economy Now 10/2012 9/2012 33% 36% 32% 23 28 28 43 35 39 12/2011 24% 30 45

Better Worse Same

Personally, a third of Americans expect next year to be more prosperous for their family than this year, nearly twice the number who thinks it will be less prosperous. Expect Next Year to be More or Less Prosperous for Your Family More 32% Less 17 About as 49 But a majority of Americans still see the country as headed on the wrong track. Now 37% 57 Country is Headed in the 9/2012 8/2012 1/2012 40% 31% 29% 54 62 65 2/2011 36% 58 9/2010 33% 60

Right direction Wrong track

The Presidents Job Approval Overall, the President stands at 57% approval today, up from before his re-election win. Historically, some Presidents have seen a rise in approval ratings after winning a second term. Now 57% 37 Obama Job Approval 10/2012 9/2012 12/2011 50% 51% 47% 42 42 44 5/2011 57% 37

Approve Disapprove

On specific matters, the President gets mixed reviews on his handling of the economy, and very positive marks on terrorism, as has been the case through most of his first term.

Obama Approval on Handling Approve Disapprove Economy 47% 47 Foreign policy 51% 32 Terrorism 60% 29 Syria Americans do not currently support U.S. engagement in Syria. 62% say the U.S. does not have a responsibility to do something about the fighting there; just 27% think the country has such a responsibility. Americans across the political spectrum hold similar views on this. Does the U.S. Have a Responsibility in Syria? Total Reps Dems Inds Yes 27% 29% 26% 26% No 62 60 63 63 More than half are following news about the violence in Syria closely, but just 18% are following it very closely. More Americans are paying attention to the fiscal cliff debate in Washington. Congress Congress continues to receive dismal ratings from the American public. 81% disapprove of the job Congress is doing, up six points from before the election. A mere 11% approve. Historically, Congressional approval has never been very high, but the 112th Congress has received some of the most negative ratings since CBS News began asking about Congress performance in 1977. The current Congress highest approval rating was 24%, just shortly after this term began, and its lowest rating was 9%, reached twice in the fall of 2011. Now 11% 81 Congress Job Approval 10/2012 12/2011 10/2011 15% 11% 9% 75 83 84 2/2011 24% 62

Approve Disapprove

Hillary Clinton Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton receives positive ratings from the Americans public. 55% view her favorably. These ratings are similar to what they were in 2009. Views of Hillary Clinton Now 3/2009 Favorable 55% 58% Not favorable 23 25 Undecided/havent heard enough 22 17 ____________________________________________________________________
This poll was conducted by telephone from December 12-16, 2012 among 1,179 adults nationwide. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

CBS NEWS POLL The Looming Fiscal Cliff December 12-16, 2012 1q1 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as President? *** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *** **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 57 16 90 53 37 78 8 37 6 6 2 10

Approve Disapprove DK/NA

Oct12c % 50 42 8

q2 Do you feel things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track? Right direction Wrong track DK/NA 37 57 6 6 89 5 65 29 7 32 62 7 39 54 7

q3 What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? Economy & Jobs 39 Budget Deficit/Natl debt/fiscal 12 Partisan Politics 4 Education 3 Health Care 3 Taxes/IRS 3 Guns 2 Republicans 2 Big Government/Bureaucracy 2 Barack Obama 2 Other 24 DK/NA 4 36 16 1 2 3 2 1 0 2 6 28 3 42 7 6 5 4 2 4 3 0 0 24 3 38 13 5 2 3 4 2 1 3 1 25 6 Aug12b 50 7 2 2 5 1 0 1 1 1 27 3

q4 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling foreign policy? Approve Disapprove DK/NA 51 32 17 17 64 19 77 13 10 48 30 23 Oct12c 47 41 12

q5 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the economy? Approve Disapprove DK/NA 47 47 6 10 86 4 78 17 5 43 50 7 46 47 7

q6 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the threat of terrorism? Jan12b Approve 60 28 83 58 61 Disapprove 29 59 10 26 29 DK/NA 12 13 6 16 10

q7 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling taxes? *** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *** **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 52 17 79 50 41 78 13 42 7 5 7 8

Approve Disapprove DK/NA

q8 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling the federal budget deficit? Feb12a Approve 37 8 68 28 32 Disapprove 51 89 19 56 59 DK/NA 12 3 13 16 9 Q9-q10 BLANK q11 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job? Approve Disapprove DK/NA 11 81 9 12 79 8 10 82 8 10 80 10 Oct12c 15 75 10

q12 In general, is your opinion of the Republican Party favorable or not favorable? Favorable Not favorable DK/NA 31 60 9 63 30 6 8 90 2 31 52 17 Sep12a 36 55 9

q13 In general, is your opinion of the Democratic Party favorable or not favorable? Favorable Not favorable DK/NA Q14 BLANK q15 How would you rate the condition of the national economy these days? good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad? Very good Fairly good Fairly bad Very bad DK/NA 1 28 46 23 1 1 10 48 41 1 1 44 42 12 1 1 26 48 23 2 Is it very Oct12c 2 30 36 31 1 51 41 8 17 79 4 87 11 2 40 44 16 49 43 8

q16 Do you think the economy is getting better, getting worse, or staying about the same? Better Worse Same DK/NA 33 23 43 1 4 44 52 0 57 9 34 0 30 23 46 1 36 28 35 1

q17 How would you rate the job market in your area these days? Is it very good, fairly good, fairly bad, or very bad? *** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *** **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 5 1 7 7 39 31 51 34 32 39 26 33 20 24 15 22 3 5 1 4

Very good Fairly good Fairly bad Very bad DK/NA

Feb11a % 3 30 35 28 4

q18 Over the next year, do you think the job market in your area will get better, get worse, or stay about the same? Better Worse Same DK/NA 35 15 46 4 14 31 50 4 53 7 35 4 31 13 53 3 28 12 56 4

q19 Is your opinion of Barack Obama favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about Barack Obama yet to have an opinion? Favorable Not favorable Undecided Haven't heard enough Refused
*Among registered voters

49 34 12 4 1

14 77 6 2 1

78 7 11 4 0

45 31 17 4 3

Oct12c* 46 42 9 1 1

q20 Is your opinion of John Boehner favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about John Boehner yet to have an opinion? Favorable Not favorable Undecided Haven't heard enough Refused 11 31 20 37 1 19 19 26 36 0 7 38 18 36 1 9 31 19 39 2 Jan11c 12 14 20 54 0

q21 Is your opinion of Hillary Clinton favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven't you heard enough about Hillary Clinton yet to have an opinion? Favorable Not favorable Undecided Haven't heard enough Refused Q22-Q23 BLANK 55 23 17 5 1 29 48 18 5 1 77 8 12 2 0 51 20 20 7 1 Mar09a 58 25 14 3 0

q24 Which comes closest to your feelings about the way things are going in Washington-enthusiastic, satisfied but not enthusiastic, dissatisfied but not angry, or angry? *** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *** **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 3 0 8 1 19 11 27 17 54 52 49 59 21 36 13 20 3 1 3 3

Enthusiastic Satisfied, not enthusiastic Dissatisfied but not angry Angry DK/NA

Aug11a % 1 14 56 28 1

q25 These days, who do you blame more for the difficulties in reaching agreements and passing legislation in Congress--the Republicans in Congress or Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress? Republicans in Congress Barack Obama and Democrats Both (Vol.) DK/NA q26 RELEASED SEPARATELY q27 Compared to this year, do you expect next year to be more prosperous for you and your family, less prosperous, or do you expect next year to be about as prosperous for you and your family as this year has been? More Less About as DK/NA Q28-Q30 BLANK q31 As you may know, tax increases and automatic spending cuts will take effect in January unless the President and Congress reach an agreement before January 1st. This deadline is commonly referred to as the fiscal cliff. How closely have you been following news about the fiscal cliff budget negotiations? Would you say you have followed this very closely, somewhat closely, or not too closely? Very closely Somewhat closely Not too closely DK/NA 30 39 30 1 31 46 23 0 32 36 31 1 27 38 34 1 32 17 49 2 17 33 47 3 46 8 45 1 29 15 54 3 Dec11b 30 19 50 1 47 24 21 8 11 60 21 8 82 5 8 5 36 20 33 11 Sep12a 44 29 19 8

q32 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress are handling the current negotiations over tax increases and spending cuts? Approve Disapprove DK/NA 38 50 12 8 84 9 70 21 9 28 54 18

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q33 Do you approve or disapprove of the way Republicans in Congress are handling the current negotiations over tax increases and spending cuts? *** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *** **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 17 38 4 16 69 48 87 66 14 15 9 17

Approve Disapprove DK/NA

q34 In the current negotiations over tax increases and spending cuts, which do you think Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress should do -- compromise some of their positions in order to come to an agreement, or stick to their positions even if it means not coming to an agreement? Compromise Stick to positions Depends (Vol.) Don't know/No answer 78 16 1 4 89 6 1 4 67 27 0 5 82 13 2 3

q35 In the current negotiations over tax increases and spending cuts, which do you think the Republicans in Congress should do -- compromise some of their positions in order to come to an agreement, or stick to their positions even if it means not coming to an agreement? Compromise Stick to positions Depends (Vol.) Don't know/No answer 81 13 1 5 66 28 2 5 92 4 0 3 81 12 1 6

q36 If an agreement is not reached before January 1st automatic tax increases and spending cuts will take effect. Do you think that would cause major economic problems for the country, minor economic problems, or no economic problems at all for the country? Major economic problems Minor economic problems No economic problems Don't know/No answer 53 38 4 5 65 29 2 4 51 38 5 6 48 43 4 4

q37 Do you think Barack Obama and the Republicans in Congress probably will or probably will not reach an agreement on deficit reduction before the deadline at the end of the year? Probably will Probably will not DK/NA Q38-Q40 BLANK 50 44 7 38 56 5 58 37 5 50 42 8

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q41 Which comes closest to your view about the tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003? The tax cuts should be continued for everyone. The tax cuts should only continue for household incomes under $250,000 a year. The tax cuts should expire for everyone? *** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *** **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 28 53 11 28 52 30 71 49 13 11 12 15 7 6 6 8

Continue for all Continue for under $250,000 Expire for all DK/NA

Oct12c % 35 42 15 8

q42 In order to reduce the budget deficit, which would you prefer? 1. A plan that includes raising tax rates on household incomes over $250,000 a year, eliminating some tax deductions, and cutting some government spending OR 2. A plan that does not raise tax rates on household incomes over $250,000 a year, but instead eliminates more tax deductions, and includes greater cuts to government spending? Raise tax rates over $250K Does not DK/NA Q43 BLANK q44 I'm going to read you some suggestions that have been made to reduce the size of the federal budget deficit. Please tell me whether you would favor or oppose each of the following. (In order to reduce the budget deficit, would you favor or oppose) Reducing defense spending? Favor Oppose DK/NA 42 54 4 25 73 2 59 37 4 38 57 5 52 40 8 32 59 9 69 26 5 49 40 11

q45 (In order to reduce the budget deficit, would you favor or oppose) Reducing Social Security benefits for retirees with higher incomes? Favor Oppose DK/NA 39 57 4 42 54 4 36 62 2 39 56 5

q46 (In order to reduce the budget deficit, would you favor or oppose) Raising the retirement age at which a person can start to collect full Medicare benefits? Favor Oppose DK/NA 32 64 4 39 57 5 26 72 3 34 62 4

q47 (In order to reduce the budget deficit, would you favor or oppose) Eliminating the mortgage interest tax deduction for homeowners? Favor Oppose DK/NA 30 62 8 27 68 5 32 63 6 30 58 12

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q48 (In order to reduce the budget deficit, would you favor or oppose) Eliminating the tax deduction for charitable contributions? *** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *** **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 33 34 33 33 62 63 63 61 5 3 4 7

Favor Oppose DK/NA

q49 (In order to reduce the budget deficit, would you favor or oppose) Raising the tax rate on household incomes that are over $250,000 a year? Favor Oppose DK/NA 69 29 2 51 46 3 84 15 0 66 30 4

q50 (In order to reduce the budget deficit, would you favor or oppose) Personally paying more in taxes? Favor Oppose DK/NA 29 68 3 22 77 1 32 66 3 32 64 4

q51 (In order to reduce the budget deficit, would you favor or oppose) Reducing some government programs and services that benefit people like you? Favor Oppose DK/NA Q52-Q53 BLANK q54 Congress will soon decide whether or not to raise the federal debt ceiling, which is the legal limit on how much the federal government can borrow to pay for the budget deficit. Some people say the debt ceiling should be raised, because otherwise the country could default on its loans, causing severe problems for the U.S. economy. Other people say the debt ceiling should not be raised because the country owes too much money already, and raising it will cause long term economic problems. In general, do you think Congress should or should not raise the federal debt ceiling? Should Should not DK/NA Q55-Q56 BLANK 25 68 7 13 83 4 36 54 9 22 71 7 45 48 7 58 32 10 33 60 7 48 46 6

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q57 Which comes closest to your view about illegal immigrants who are currently working in the U.S.? 1. They should be allowed to stay in their jobs and to eventually apply for U.S. citizenship. 2. They should be allowed to stay in their jobs only as guest workers, but not to apply for U.S. citizenship. OR, 3. They should be required to leave their jobs and leave the U.S.? *** TOTAL RESPONDENTS *** **** Party ID **** Total Rep Dem Ind % % % % 47 35 53 48 24 23 22 25 27 39 23 23 3 4 2 4

Allowed to stay and apply Stay as guest worker Required to leave Don't know/No answer

Oct12c % 51 20 24 5

q58 How closely have you been following news about the ongoing violence in Syria? Would you say you have followed this very closely, somewhat closely, or not too closely? Very closely Somewhat closely Not too closely DK/NA 18 39 42 0 25 36 39 0 15 40 44 1 18 39 43 0

q59 Do you think the United States has a responsibility to do something about the fighting in Syria between government forces and anti-government groups, or doesn't the United States have this responsibility? U.S. has responsibility U.S. does not DK/NA Q60-q61 BLANK q62 How concerned are you that in the next 12 months you or someone else in your household might be out of work and looking for a job--very concerned, somewhat concerned, or not concerned at all? Sep12a Very concerned 30 27 28 34 36 Somewhat concerned 26 28 26 25 25 Not at all concerned 43 45 45 41 37 DK/NA 0 0 0 0 1 27 62 11 29 60 10 26 63 12 26 63 11

Total Respondents Republicans Democrats Independents

UNWEIGHTED 1,179 308 422 449

WEIGHTED 286 420 473 (24%) (36%) (40%)

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