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WTOP Beltway Poll: Most think 'fiscal cliff' would hurt region's economy

Monday - 12/10/2012, 1:50pm  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - A majority of people in the D.C. metro area think a failure to avert the "fiscal cliff" will negatively affect the local economy, but many don't believe it will hurt them personally, a new WTOP Beltway Poll finds.

Sixty-two percent of those questioned say the mandatory budget cuts that go into effect Jan. 1 if Congress and the White House don't reach an agreement will hurt the region's economy. But when asked about their personal finances, the number drops to 41 percent.

Mike Dabadie with Heart+Mind Strategies, which conducted the poll, says 50 percent polled think the "fiscal cliff" won't impact their finances at all.

"It's just not personally relevant to them yet" says Dabadie.

Only 7 percent of those polled think falling off the cliff will positively affect personal finances.

The numbers are slightly different between Virginia, Maryland and D.C.

More D.C. residents, 57 percent, said the "fiscal cliff" won't impact them, compared to 49 percent in Virginia and 50 percent in Maryland.

But 65 percent of Virginians surveyed said they felt the region's economy would take a hit from the cuts, compared to 63 percent in D.C. and 60 percent in Maryland.

Other findings:

  • About 70 percent of respondents in D.C., Maryland and Virginia favor delaying the spending cuts.

  • Only 26 percent of residents said the automatic cuts should go through.

Editor's Note: The D.C. metro phone survey was conducted by Heart+Mind Strategies among 550 adults age 18 and over, between Nov. 26, 2012 and Nov. 29, 2012. This included representative samples of 200 people in Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties) 250 in Maryland (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George's counties) and 100 in D.C. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percent.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)