WASHINGTON -- President Obama and aides believe they have the upper hand with public opinion, but there are also risks for them as the government approaches the fiscal cliff.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll says that 56% of Americans will blame both Democrats and Republicans if they fail to strike a debt reduction agreement, and expose the nation to a series of automatic tax hikes and budget cuts.
Yet, as with other surveys, most respondents favor Obama's approach to fiscal cliff talks, including his call for higher taxes on the wealthy.
"Twice as many Americans say they trust the president more in handling this fiscal situation (38%) than House Speaker John Boehner and the congressional Republicans (19%)," reports NBC News.
NBC also notes that "significant majorities believe Obama holds a clear mandate from the election on issues related to this subject:
-- 68% say he has a mandate on cutting taxes for families earning less than $250,000 per year;
-- 65% say he has a mandate on reducing the deficit by both increasing taxes on the wealthy and reducing federal spending;
-- And 59% say he has a mandate on eliminating the Bush-era tax cuts for household income over $250,000 a year."