With the clock ticking to the year-end fiscal cliff deadline, a new poll shows an uptick in Americans who say that want to see lawmakers reach a compromise, rather than dig in and refuse to sway from their principles.
The Gallup survey released Tuesday showed 70 percent of all adult Americans want to see Congress and the White House reach a compromise agreement that would avoid the tax hikes and spending cuts included in the fiscal cliff. That's up from the 62 percent who said they wanted compromise in a Gallup survey conduced last week.
Similarly, the number of Americans who say they want lawmakers to stick to their principles on tax rates and spending is down -- 18 percent expressed that view in Tuesday's poll, compared to 25 percent who felt that way last week.
Lawmakers and President Barack Obama must reach a deal on reducing the federal deficit before the end of the year in order to avoid a package of tax hikes and sweeping spending cuts that was agreed upon last year. The two parties have been at odds on raising tax rates on the wealthy, which Democrats support but that most Republicans oppose. Cuts to entitlement spending are also being negotiated, though specifics have yet to be detailed.
Most economists agree a mixture of both tax increases and spending cuts is the only effective way to trim down the ballooning federal deficit.
In Tuesday's poll, Democrats were more likely than Republicans to say they wanted lawmakers to compromise on a fiscal cliff agreement, 73 percent-67 percent. Conversely, more Republicans (24 percent) than Democrats (15 percent) said they wanted lawmakers to stick to their principles.
Optimism levels on reaching a deal remained largely unchanged since last week, unsurprising given the lack of details coming from Capitol Hill or the White House on any potential deals. Fifty-nine percent said a deal was "very" or "somewhat" likely, compared to 38 percent who said an agreement wasn't likely to take shape before the Jan. 1 deadline.
And Obama retained higher approval ratings than Congressional Republicans on handling the fiscal cliff negotiations -- 48 percent of Americans approved of the president's job, compared to 26 percent who said Republicans in Congress met their approval.
The Gallup poll was conducted by telephone Dec. 8-9 from 1,069 adults. The sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.