The poll has a margin of error of 4 percentage points, making the split a statistical tie.
The national poll mostly proves true multiple polls from last year predicting that the public would blame Republicans more than Democrats if the country went over the “fiscal cliff,” but Democrats in Congress did not fare much better.
When asked about generic Democratic leaders and Republican leaders, Americans disapproved more than approved of both groups. Republicans leaders earned a 67 percent disapproval rating over the fiscal-cliff negotiations, with 25 percent approval, while Democratic leaders earned 55 to 34 percent ratings.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) apparently took the most blame, with half of those polled disapproving of the way he handled negotiations, at 50 percent disapproval to 31 percent approval. The numbers for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are close, with 48 percent disapproval to 27 percent approval for Reid and 46 percent to 28 for McConnell, although about 25 percent of those asked had no opinion for either man.
Obama and Biden fared better in Americans’ opinion of those involved in negotiations, with statistically tied approval-disapproval numbers. Obama earned 48 percent disapproval to 46 percent approval, and Biden 42 to 40 percent.
Technically, Congress missed the deadlines at the end of the year that allowed the George W. Bush-era tax rates to expire and the automatic spending cuts triggered by sequestration to kick in. Biden and McConnell ultimately brokered a deal that the Senate passed on New Year's Day followed by the House that night.
The legislation indefinitely extends the expiring Bush-era tax rates on annual family incomes up to $450,000, and for individuals up to a $400,000 cut-off. It also lifts the top capital gains and dividends rates to 20 percent, extends unemployment benefits for a year and delays for two months the automatic spending cuts triggered by the sequestering process.
More Republicans and Independents disapprove than approve of the deal itself, while more Democrats approve than disapprove, the poll found. The legislation passed with more Democratic than Republican support — it received 85 Republican votes in the House, but all except five Republican senators voted for it.