Avoiding The Fiscal Cliff: Majority Would Accept Some Taxes To Avert Going Over It

November 21, 2012, 4:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 11/17/2012) In principle, Americans reject tax increases to reduce the budget deficit. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, just 31% say they would favor increasing taxes to reduce the deficit. But in the same poll, most say they would be willing to have some tax increases to prevent the large automatic spending cuts and tax increases that would go into effect if no agreement is reached by January 1.

However, most want those tax increases to be part of a package that includes spending cuts, too. And 22% say the fiscal cliff should be averted only through spending cuts.

But even a majority of Republicans, whose party has steadfastly opposed tax increases in recent years, would accept some tax increases in order to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. So would a majority of those with family incomes above $100,000 a year.

Most Americans think that not finding a solution would hurt the economy badly, giving added impetus to finding a solution. But a compromise may not be easy to find. More than a third believe President Obama, Congress, and Democrats in general are not willing to compromise. Even more think Republicans won’t compromise.

Congress has suffered from low approval ratings for years. This week, only 9% approve of how Congress is doing its job. And while the President’s approval rating is much higher than that of Congress, at 45% it remains below majority approval. And he gets his lowest marks on his handling of the budget deficit. Only 39% approve of President Obama’s handling of the deficit, while 52% disapprove.