President Barack Obama holds a news conference in the East Room of the White House on November 14, 2012 in Washington, DC. - 

As President Obama prepares for negotiations with members of Congress on the so-called fiscal cliff, business CEOs and labor leaders are already making preparations for whatever may come.

But what do the American people think?

According to polling firm Gallup, a majority of Americans -- 71 percent -- are following coverage of the issue very or somewhat closely. Frank Newport, editor-in-chief at Gallup, says the polling clearly shows that Americans want compromise. More specifically, Americans want both Republicans and Democrats in Washington to make sacrifices, suggesting that neither party has a mandate on the issue.

Yet, in terms of their preferences for tax hikes versus spending cuts, Newport says, "Americans still [fall] significantly on the cut spending side of the spectrum." However, he notes that some people favor a combination of both.