WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Just over half of Americans believe that President Obama and congressional Republicans will not reach a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff – and more say the GOP will be to blame.

As President Obama and congressional leaders begin negotiations to avoid the “fiscal cliff” deadline at the end of the year, there is widespread public concern about the possible financial consequences. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center found that about half (51 percent) believe the two sides will not reach an agreement. Just 38 percent think they will.

Should no deal be reached, 53 percent say that congressional Republicans would be more to blame. Twenty-nine percent said Obama would be at fault.

A majority of those surveyed said that the automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to take effect in January would have a major effect on the U.S. economy than on their own personal finances. But nearly identical majorities say the effect of the changes would be mostly negative for the economy (62 percent) and their personal financial situation (60 percent).

Republicans are particularly skeptical of a deal.

By a 66 percent to 25 percent margin more Republicans think an agreement will not be reached. By comparison, Democrats are about as likely to expect a deal to be made (47 percent), as not (40 percent).

Among independents, 51 percent do not think President Obama and Republicans and in Congress will come to an agreement, while 37 percent think this will happen.

If an agreement is not reached, 85 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents say that Republicans in Congress would be more to blame.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post, conducted Nov. 8-11, 2012, among 1,000 adults finds sharp partisan divisions over prospects for a deal to avoid the fiscal measures from automatically taking effect.


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