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In 'fiscal cliff' fight, Obama gets better marks than Boehner

President Obama's approval rating is at a three-year high; Speaker Boehner's is at an all-time low, and a majority of Americans view the GOP as too extreme. Is Boehner's position in danger?

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If you picture the “fiscal cliff” struggle between the Democratic White House and the Republican House of Representatives as hand-to-hand political combat between the President and Speaker John Boehner, you’d have to score it as advantage Obama by a wide margin.

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Mr. Obama’s approval rating is at a three-year high. Mr. Boehner’s is at an all-time low – even lower than Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker Boehner ousted when Republicans took over the House in 2010. Meanwhile, a majority of Americans now say the GOP is too extreme.

Depending on what happens with the automatic tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts that define the fiscal cliff just ten days off, that could change, of course. Public attitudes toward Washington are never very far from “a pox on both your houses.”

But as the Obama family headed to Hawaii and lawmakers scattered for what’s likely to be a truncated holiday break, the latest polls are a lump of coal in the Republican Christmas stocking.

Recommended: 'Fiscal cliff' 101: 5 basic questions answered

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed in a new CNN/ORC International poll say they view the policies of the GOP as too extreme, up 17 points from two years ago. Only 37 percent say they view the policies of the Democratic Party as too extreme.

“According to the survey, 53 percent say the GOP should compromise more, with 41 percent saying the Democratic Party should give up more of the proposals it supports to develop bipartisan solutions,” CNN reports

"That's due in part to the fact that the Republican brand is not doing all that well," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

This same survey shows just 34 percent feeling good about the job Boehner is doing – 18 points lower than Obama’s job approval rating.

"Small wonder that nearly half say they have more confidence in President Obama than in the congressional Republicans and that nearly half (48 percent) would blame the GOP if the fiscal cliff occurs," says Mr. Holland.

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