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Poll: Americans expect Congress to act like ‘spoiled children’ on fiscal cliff

The public is pessimistic about fiscal cliff negotiations, with a new CNN poll showing 67 percent of Americans predicting their elected officials will act like "spoiled children." Only 28 percent expect members of Congress to behave like "responsible adults." 

Two-thirds of survey respondents said that the United States would face a either a crisis or major problems if negotiations break down and we go over the cliff. 

If negotiations fail and automatic spending cuts and tax hikes set in, more Americans would blame the Republicans in Congress than President Obama, at 45 percent to 34 percent, according to the poll. Fifty-three percent have an unfavorable view of the GOP, and only 42 percent want congressional Republicans to have more influence than the president over the country's direction in the next two years. 

Both Democrats and Republicans are open to a deal that raises revenue, along with cutting spending. But there is a wide gulf between the parties on the details. Democrats want to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Republicans want to eliminate individual loopholes and deductions, which would affect both the rich and the middle class. 

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

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