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On 'Fiscal Cliff,' Majority Of Public Sides With Democrats, Pew Poll Says

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As the end-of-year tax increases and spending cuts known as the "fiscal cliff" near, "Democrats are in a strong position with the public," the Pew Research Center reports.

A new national poll Pew released this morning shows that:

-- "When it comes to the reaching an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff, 55% say Obama is making a serious effort to work with Republicans. But just 32% say Republican leaders are making a serious effort to work with Obama on a deficit deal."

-- President Obama's "first post-reelection job approval rating has risen to 55%, up five points since July and 11 points since the start of the year. Obama's job rating is markedly higher than George W. Bush's first job measure (48%) after he won reelection in 2004."

-- "By a 53% to 33% margin, the public sees the Republican Party, rather than the Democratic Party, as 'more extreme in its positions.' Democrats, on the other hand, are seen as "more willing to work with leaders from the other party" by roughly two-to-one (53% vs. 27%)."

The national survey of 1,503 adults was conducted Dec. 5-9. Pew says that "900 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 603 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 300 who had no landline telephone." The margin of error on results from the full survey is +/- 2.9 percentage points.

The results echo those of a survey Pew did for The Washington Post in late November and earlier in December. In that poll, 53 percent of those surveyed said Republicans would be "more to blame" if there's no agreement reached to avoid going over the so-called cliff. Twenty-nine percent said Obama would be to blame.

Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, is due to speak with All Things Considered this afternoon about the latest poll results. We'll add the broadcast-version of that conversation to the top of this post later. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show.

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