Poll: Obama Won Battle of the Cliff

More Democrats approve of the tax deal than Republicans, a poll shows.


President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden make a statement about the fiscal cliff bill on Wednesday at the White House.

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President Barack Obama is the political winner, as such, when it came to his handling of the fiscal cliff negotiations but Americans aren't convinced the deal will do much to improve the economy, says a new poll.

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About 48 percent of adults said they approve of how Obama handled negotiations compared to just 19 percent who said they approved of Republican leaders' handling of them, according to a Pew Research Center survey released Monday.

But just 30 percent of those polled say the deal, which ensured the continuation of Bush-era tax rates for those making less than $450,000 but increased taxes on those earning more, will help "people like themselves."

"Relatively few Americans expect that the tax legislation that resulted from those talks will help people like themselves, the budget deficit, or the national economy," said a memo accompanying the survey results.

The overall deal is more popular with Democrats than Republicans – 58 percent of Democrats approve of it compared to 36 percent of independents and just 18 percent of Republicans. The survey also showed that people who paid close attention to the on-going negotiations were more likely to approve of it.

[MORE: Presidential Politics in Play During Fiscal Cliff Votes, Negotiations]

The poll tracks closely with similar polling that occurred during the fiscal cliff talks showing that Americans would be more likely to blame Republicans if a deal could not be reached. It also foreshadows the politics of upcoming negotiations on raising the debt ceiling and addressing sweeping automatic spending cuts.

Both Republicans and Democrats are wary of shouldering the blame if a debt ceiling deal can't be reached, but if one side sees a public approval advantage as the deadline approaches it can rapidly improve its negotiating hand.

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