Poll: Majority expect recession in 2013

A majority of voters believe that a recession is likely next year regardless of whether lawmakers reach a last-minute deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” according to a new poll.

A full 70 percent of voters told the conservative-leaning pollster Rasmussen they expect a recession next year if Congress fails to stop the tax increases and spending cuts that are set to begin in January. 

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But even if lawmakers take action before the end of the year, 54 percent believe a recession is coming in 2013, with 26 percent rating that outcome “very likely.”

The Congressional Budget Office and other economic analysts have predicted that a plunge over the fiscal cliff would pull hundreds of billions from the economy and create a recession in the first half of 2013.  

Experts do not expect a recession if the tax and spending policies of the fiscal cliff are reversed, but the Rasmussen survey indicates most think that the damage to the economy has already been done.

Another poll released Wednesday found growing pessimism about the chances for a fiscal cliff solution in Washington. Only half of the respondents in the Gallup survey expected action before the end of the year, down from 57 percent in a previous poll.

Congress has only a few days to try to work out a compromise. President Obama has cut his Hawaii vacation short to return to Washington, D.C., to continue negotiations, and both the House and Senate are expected to be back in session soon.