1. People are following the fiscal cliff story.
A recent Gallup poll found that 60% of Americans were following the fiscal cliff story "very" or "somewhat" closely. A Pew/Washington Post poll paints a picture of an even-closer-watching public, with 66% saying they were watching fiscal cliff news "very" or "somewhat" closely, including 40% who answered "very" closely.
2. People are worried about the fiscal cliff
Last month, 68% of Americans in a CNN/ORC poll said that if the fiscal cliff were to occur it would cause a crisis or major problems for the United States. This crisis/major problem percentage is nearly 10 points higher than the percentage of Americans who worried about the debt ceiling being raised in the summer of 2011.
Moreover, Americans are worried about their own finances: 38% said their own financial situation would be affected a great deal if the fiscal cliff were to occur. Another 39% thought their finances would be at least somewhat affected. That's 10 points higher than the percentage who thought their financial situation would be affected if the debt ceiling were not raised during the summer of 2011.
3. The National Debt is not a top priority
There's isn't too much polling regarding concern about the national debt and the "fiscal cliff" specifically, but the overall data says Americans aren't worrying about the national debt right now. Only 15% of Americans in a National Journal survey thought that the most concerning issue with regards to new agreements to reduce deficits concerns was that any deal would "not meet its target for reducing the federal deficit and debt". In an August 2012 CBS/NY-Times poll, only 7% believed that the budget deficit and/or national debt was the most important problem facing the country.
4. Most Americans would love to tax families making more than $250,000 as part of the solution
In the last Pew/Washington poll, 48% of Americans wanted the Bush tax cuts to expire only on families making more than $250,000. When you combine that with the 13% who wanted the tax cuts to expire on everyone, you get more than 60% of the American public agreeing that taxes on those families earning more than $250,000 should go up. This survey is well in line with all other data on the subject.
5. Most Americans are worried about cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and social security
Seventy-nine per cent of Americans do not want Medicare spending cut, per the latest National Journal survey; 63% do not want Medicaid cut. Sixty-seven per cent of Americans in a mid-November Washington Post poll did not want the Medicare age raised from 65 to 67 years old. Seventy-seven per cent of Americans also don't want social security benefits decreased and only 30% want a change in the way annual increases are calculated.
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