Most Americans want both parties to compromise equally in budget negotiations, but Republicans may take more heat if an agreement isn't reached, according to several polls released in the last week.
Slightly more than two thirds of respondents said the best outcome for the country would come if President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats compromised equally to House Republicans, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday. Fourteen percent would prefer Obama to give more ground, while another 14 percent said Republicans should back down further. Just 3 percent thought it would be best to cease negotiations and let the spending cuts and tax increases take effect.
Independents were the most likely to favor meeting in the middle, but two thirds of both Republicans and Democrats agreed that was the best move. A quarter of Democrats said House Republicans should compromise more, while 26 percent of Republicans thought Obama should compromise more.
On one proposal, at least, voters may be more inclined to side with the Obama administration. As The Hill notes, a Rasmussen survey last week found that 57 percent of likely voters supported raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000, compared to just over a third who opposed it.
If the nation does fall off the fiscal cliff, GOP lawmakers are more likely than Obama to shoulder the political blame, a Pew/Washington Post poll found last week.
Slightly more than half of Americans said in that poll that congressional lawmakers would be more to blame if tax cuts expire and automatic spending cuts take effect early next year, while 29 percent said Obama would be more at fault. Half expected the negotiations to fail, with Republicans even less likely to predict a successful outcome.
But more broadly, Americans remain somewhat confident in the parties' ability to work together.
Two thirds of Americans expect Obama to reach across the aisle during his second term, down considerably from 2008, but steady over the past two years according to USA Today/Gallup. A smaller 57 percent majority also expected Congressional Democrats to seek bipartisan solutions, while 48 percent thought Republicans would be willing to do so.
The USA Today/Gallup poll surveyed 1,009 adults between Nov. 9 and 12, with a 4 percent margin of error, while the Pew/Post poll surveyed 1,000 adults between Nov. 8 and 11, with a 3.7 margin of error, both using live telephone interviews. The Rasmussen poll, conducted on Nov. 15, surveyed 1,000 likely voters by automated phone with a 3 percent margin of error.