POLITICS
12/26/2012 12:55 pm ET Updated Dec 26, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Poll Finds Declining Confidence In Possibility Of A Deal

Americans' confidence in the possibility of a fiscal-cliff deal dipped last week as members of Congress left for the holidays, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

Just half of Americans thought a deal would be reached in the most recent poll, down from 57 percent six days before.

At the same time, Gallup found, President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats got a moderate boost in approval ratings for their handling of the crisis. Obama's rating on the negotiations rose to a majority 54 percent, while approval for Democratic leaders in Congress jumped to 45 percent. Republicans did not see similar gains, with their number holding nearly steady at 26 percent.

Any shift in approval didn't appear to affect the desire for bipartisan deal-making. Just 22 percent of people said either side should stick to its principles, while 68 percent called for a compromise.

Polling on the fiscal cliff has shown few changes since after the election. Most Americans shun ideological purity, but are somewhat inclined to side with Obama on issues like a tax increase for the wealthy.

In contrast to Gallup, other surveys have already shown shaky confidence on the likelihood of an agreement. In Pew Research polls taken in early and mid-December, just 40 percent of adults expected the president and Congress to reach a deal. An online HuffPost/YouGov poll at the end of November found 42 percent of adults thought a compromise would be reached.

Gallup surveyed 1,076 adults by phone between Dec. 21 and Dec. 22, with a 4 percent margin of error.

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