More than seven in 10 adults questioned called for compromise on the issue, but expressed pessimism about whether that would happen, results of the CNN/ORC International survey released Monday indicated.
If there is no compromise and the fiscal cliff becomes reality at the end of the year, Americans said congressional Republican likely would bear most of the blame.
Last year, Congress and President Obama agreed to reduce the federal deficit by setting up what has been called a "fiscal cliff." Unless Congress and Obama strike an agreement within the next few weeks, tax rates will automatically rise next year for nearly all Americans and spending cuts will begin to kick in for most government spending programs.
Results of Monday's poll indicate nearly one out of four say the tax increases and spending cuts will cause a crisis while 44 percent said they would cause major problems.
Two-thirds of those questioned said any agreement should include a mix of spending cuts and tax increases.
Results are based on a nationwide telephone survey of 1,023 adults conducted Nov. 16-18. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.