PRINCETON, N.J., Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Nearly half of U.S. taxpayers doubt President Obama and Congress will reach a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" before Jan. 1, a poll indicates.
The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and a series of massive budget cuts are scheduled to kick in Jan. 1, producing what Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke dubbed the "fiscal cliff" and which some economists say could push the U.S. economy back into recession.
A Gallup poll released Wednesday indicated 50 percent of those polled believe a deal will be reached while 48 percent said they doubted it. Sixty-eight percent advised negotiators to compromise.
Fifty-four percent of those polled said they approved the way Obama has handled the negotiations, up from 48 percent the week before. Democrats also received a boost, with 45 percent saying they approved of Democrats' performance, compared with 34 percent earlier in the month; Republican approval fell to 26 percent from 29 percent.
Sixty-four percent of those polled said they are following the negotiations very or somewhat closely while 36 percent said they're not paying much or any attention.
Gallup polled 1,076 adults across the country Dec. 21-22. The poll had an error margin of 4 percentage points and a 95 percent confidence rating.