Poll: Most Will Blame GOP if Deficit Deal Fails

Lawmakers continue to exchange proposals ahead of the looming deadline.

House Speaker House John Boehner of Ohio, center, leaves a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, after reporting on his private talks with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the fiscal cliff negotiations.

House Speaker John Boehner abandoned his "Plan B" Thursday night after he could not get the votes from the most conservative members of his caucus.

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Republicans are more likely to be blamed by Americans than President Barack Obama if massive spending cuts and tax hikes scheduled to take effect early next year occur, according to a new poll.

The survey shows 53 percent of people would blame Republicans, while 27 percent would blame the president and just 10 percent would blame both, according to the Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday.

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The lopsidedness of the poll indicates why Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, ponied up an offer that included plans for $800 billion in new revenue over the next 10 years despite campaigning against raising taxes. But it's also why the Obama administration, which has proposed $1.6 trillion in new taxes on the wealthiest Americans, quickly dismissed the GOP proposal.

"The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance," said White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer in a statement. "Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won't be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit."

Boehner's proposal, in addition to failing to please the White House, also appears to be displeasing his party's conservative flank, eliciting criticism from outside groups such as Americans for Prosperity and Heritage Action, the lobbying group associated with The Heritage Foundation.

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"Not only are Republican leaders asking their members to go back on their promise not to raise taxes on the American people, but they appear unwilling to fight for the bold entitlement reforms that won them the House in 2010," said Heritage Action in a E-mail to members, according to the National Journal.

Boehner's offer echoes a proposal made by Erskine Bowles, a former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton, and also aims to make reforms to entitlement programs such as Medicare. But given the public's stance on who to blame and Obama's recent re-election based on a campaign on raising taxes for the country's top-earners, it's likely that if and when a deal is made, conservatives will be pulled farther away from what they want than will Democrats. According to the poll, 49 percent say a deal will be reached before the December 31 deadline, while 40 percent think lawmakers will fail to reach an agreement.

Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at rmetzler@usnews.com.