11/16/2011 04:01 pm ET | Updated Nov 16, 2011

Supercommittee Polls: Americans Unaware Of, Pessimistic About Congressional Deficit Panel's Work

Seven days separate the supercommittee from its fate. By Nov. 23, the 12-member panel is tasked with the difficult chore of finding $1.2 trillion to slash from America's deficit.

In the meantime, Americans appear to be disinterested or detached from the process. A pair of polls show that the public is either unaware of the supercommittee concept, or downright downhearted regarding the panel's ability to create change.

Politico and George Washington University conducted a November study showing that 50 percent of Americans are not at all familiar with the supercommittee's work. The deficit-reduction task force was created as part of the August deal to end Congress' standoff on raising the debt ceiling.

Coupled with those aloof numbers is a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, showing that nearly four-fifths of Americans see it as "very" or "somewhat" unlikely that the supercommittee will reach its deficit-reduction goals on time. A Wednesday AP report has lawmakers exuding similar pessimism, with plenty of partisan squabbling.

"We need to find out whether our Republican colleagues want to continue to negotiate or whether they've drawn a hard line in the sand," Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) told the AP. "The question is whether they've kind of said 'take it or leave it.'"

Americans may be smart to doubt the supercommittee's potential. If the dynamic dozen fails to iron out these issues by Nov. 23, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that $1.2 trillion in planned automatic spending cuts will go into effect.

But back in September, The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim noted that the notion of automatic, across-the-board cuts is anything but a given. If that threat does come to pass, the cuts would not start until New Year's Day in 2013. On that same day, a series of tax cuts and credits, including the illustrious Bush-era rates, are expiring. That leaves plenty of time for Congress to dodge those "automatic" actions.

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