Obama wins, Americans lose, says Pew’s ‘fiscal cliff’ poll

A new Pew Research Center┬ápoll says most Americans — including 74 percent of Republicans — believe President Barack Obama won the “fiscal cliff” face-off, but most also believe the deal is bad for them and the economy.

Fifty-two percent of independents believe the deal will mostly hurt the economy, and 55 percent believe the deal will mostly “hurt people like you,” said the January poll of 1,003 adults. Fewer than one-in-three independents thought the deal would be good for the economy or people like them, said a Jan. 10 statement from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Republicans overwhelmingly said the deal is bad for the economy and people like them, while a slight majority of Democrats favored the deal.

Overall, 52 percent of respondents though the deal would hurt “people like you,” and 46 percent said the economy would be damaged. Only 30 percent of respondents said they believe the deal will help them, and just 36 percent believe the deal will help the economy.

Under the last-minute deal, Obama and the Democrats used their political leverage to gain $620 billion in tax revenue from higher-income Americans over 10 years, but abandoned their vocal 12-year opposition to the low tax rates set for 98 percent of Americans by President George W. Bush in his 2001 tax-cut package.

Obama and the Democrats also ended the two-year payroll tax holiday, boosting taxes for all working-class and middle-class American workers.

GOP politicians had argued that the tax increases will slow the economy, and offered various compromises that Obama rejected.

The fiscal-cliff deal will allow the national debt to grow past $20 trillion in 2017. That debt amounts to roughly $125,000 for each working-age American.

The 10-year tax deal also includes $77 billion in benefits for various groups, including Hollywood producers and green-tech companies.

The good news for Democrats, however, is that “attentive Americans” generally favored the tax-deal.

Forty-nine percent of people who watched the negotiations “very closely” approved the deal, versus 32 percent of those who watched the negotiations “less closely,” said the Pew poll. The disapproval rate was 41 percent for both groups.

Generally, people who pay more attention to politics are more likely to vote than those who do not pay attention.

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