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time:2010-12-15   hits:1425
(Dec. 13) -- Conservatives, liberals and political independents are markedly in sync when it comes to the deal President Barack Obama forged with Republicans on extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and unemployment benefits.
A poll released today by the Pew Research Center indicates a strong bipartisan majority backs the deal, including 62 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents. Within the parties, 64 percent of conservatives and 65 percent of liberals favor the deal.
At a time when the two parties' elected officials in Washington have been bitterly divided, the numbers are a case of striking unanimity and could help Obama win over Democrats reluctant to back a package that provides tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans amid huge federal budget deficits.
The Senate today was expected to cast its first vote on the package, which would temporarily extend all the Bush-era tax cuts otherwise scheduled to expire at year's end, including a suspension of nearly all estate taxes. In exchange for bowing to Republicans' insistence that the extension include the wealthiest earners, Obama got Republicans to agree to renew federal funding for unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless, and a one-year reduction in Social Security taxes.

Sponsored LinksThe Pew survey also suggested that on balance, more Americans feel the deal will help rather than hurt the economy and people like themselves.
Forty-eight percent of respondents said it would help the economy and 47 percent said it would help "people like you," while 29 percent thought it would hurt the economy and 25 percent felt it would be bad for them.
Still, more respondents said the deal would be bad for the budget deficit rather than help the country's fiscal mess -- 46 percent to 26 percent. And as with overall approval and disapproval of the deal, the survey results on that question differed little across parties.
The survey was conducted Dec. 9-12 among 1,011 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points for the total sample.