Have Yourself a Merry Little 'Cliff'smas

Surveys show many Americans expect to fall from the fiscal cliff and really don't find the prospect any more frightening than the economic mess we're in already.

--Only 9% said the cliff was the most pressing issue in the recently released 15th Allstate-National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll. (You're in good hands with Allstate.)

--48% polled by KPMG said they didn't expect an agreement by year-end. Another 19% said they weren't sure. (The survey didn't ask if anyone really cared.)

--74.1% surveyed by the independent research organization NORC at the University of Chicago said the budget deficit is a very important problem, but 91.8% also called unemployment a very important problem. "Quite simply, the public has other economic concerns besides the deficit," said professor Mark Hansen. (Yeah, like Powerball.)

--63% of business owners polled by Newtek Business Services (NEWT) said fiscal-cliff concerns haven't affected their business. "Our independent business owners...are sensing that the fiscal cliff is an overhyped media term," said the company's chief executive, Barry Sloane. (Actually, it's an overhyped Ben Bernanke term.)

--53% responding to the 2012 Fall CFO Survey from Grant Thornton LLC said the fiscal cliff wouldn't affect the first half 2013 for their companies. And 60% said they don't consider an unresolved fiscal cliff an obstacle. (So let's just hold hands and jump.)

--58% of CEOs expect their sales to increase in the next six months, 24% expect them to decrease and 17% expect them to stay the same in a survey by the Business Roundtable. (CEOs tend to be the most confident when confronting cliffs, though. They wear parachutes.)

--Only one-third of Americans have cut their spending over the past 30 days because of the fiscal cliff, according to Bankrate.com. And the most-likely people to cut spending were from households making less than $30,000 a year and those with no more than a high school education. (Also known in this economy as sitting ducks.)

--Only 30% said the cliff has made them buy less for the holidays, according to Mountain View, Calif.-based cloud and mobile testing firm SOASTA(A) Inc. Another 3% said it has made them buy more. (It's always a good time to buy!)

--Only 16% polled by LowFares.com said fiscal cliff worries caused them not to travel in 2012. Of those surveyed, 66% plan to travel during the 2012 holiday season, up from 47% in 2011. (The survey didn't ask if they were headed for the hills.)

--30% polled by Bloomington, Ill.-based Country Financial said 2013 will be a better year for them, financially, and another 33% expect it to be about the same. (Oh, and it's Country Financial. Not the notorious mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial.)

--88% said they'd be willing to do their part to reduce the national debt if other people would just do their part. This comes from a survey by the nonpartisan Peter G. Peterson Foundation, founded by the former U.S. Secretary of Commerce. (Tax millionaires first. Ask the thousandaires later.)

--79% of homebuyers said mortgage interest and property tax deductions were "extremely important," according to a survey by the California Association of Realtors. "If the deduction is taken away, it would cost the average California taxpayer $3,940 annually," the group's president, Don Faught, said. "Further, more than 694,000 California households would no longer be able to afford to buy a median-priced home." (Oh, no. Not my mortgage deduction.)

--75% disapprove of making seniors pay higher fees for their Medicare services to reduce federal spending in a survey by lobbying group Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. "Co-pays are not the answer our country's needs," said the group's chairman, Billy Tauzin. (As a wise man once said, "Get your government hands off my Medicare.")

--When asked about their own worst financial habits, in a survey by Allianz Life, nearly 30% said "not saving any money" and 18% said "spending more than I make." "Americans want Uncle Sam to address the economic issues...yet it's troubling that they're guilty of many of the same poor spending and savings habits," said Katie Libbe of Allianz Life. (Somehow the ornament doesn't fall far from the tree. Merry Cliffsmas!)

(Al's Emporium, written by Dow Jones Newswires columnist Al Lewis, offers commentary and analysis on a wide range of business subjects through an unconventional perspective. Contact Al at al.lewis@dowjones.com or tellittoal.com)