The Washington Times - December 26, 2012, 09:31AM

As the deadline nears, Americans are increasingly pessimistic that their leaders in Washington will avoid the “fiscal cliff” looming in less than a week, according to the latest Gallup polling.

In early December, optimism was running high, at 59 percent, that all sides would strike a deal. But in Gallup’s latest polling just before Christmas, that had dropped to just 50 percent — the lowest rate seen in the poll.

Gallup says Americans give President Obama generally high marks for his handling of the debate, boosting him to 54 percent support for the way he’s gone about addressing the fiscal cliff. And Democrats in Congress have seen a 10 percentage point jump between Dec. 15-16 and Dec. 21-22.

But Republicans are moving in the other direction, falling 3 percentage points in that same time period.