There’s a partisan divide over the issue of political compromise versus ideological steadfastness, according to a newly released USA Today/Gallup poll.
When asked about the “best approach for political leaders to follow in Washington,” 41% of Republican respondents maintain that “it is more important for political leaders to stick to their beliefs even if little gets done,” while only 18% of Democratic respondents express the same sentiment. This contention is put in opposition to the claim that “it is more important for political leaders to compromise in order to get things done,” which 59% of Democrats support versus only 32% of Republicans.
Overall, the findings suggest Americans generally prefer their political leaders to compromise (47%) rather than sticking to their beliefs (27%).
When respondents were asked about the Republicans in Congress and President Obama’s “willingness to work with [the] other side to find solutions acceptable to both parties,” 64% expressed the belief that Obama would work beyond partisan lines, whereas only 43% indicated Republicans in Congress would act in the same manner.
The pollster notes that these findings may suggest a problem for the Republicans in Congress. “Americans overall favor political leaders who seek compromise over sticking to their core beliefs, although to the extent Republicans in Congress take that approach, they may be straying from the views of their party’s core supporters. Indeed, many of the newly elected GOP members won the party’s nomination by promising to hold to core beliefs of limited government.”
President Obama, on the other hand, “may be in a slightly more comfortable position to compromise, given that his core Democratic supporters — as well as Americans overall — seem to favor that approach.” Looking ahead, the pollster concludes that “the outcome of the 2012 elections for president and Congress may hinge largely on the ability of Congress and the president to work together to solve the nation’s problems over the next two years.”
A pre-election McClatchy-Marist survey asked respondents “if the Republicans win control of Congress in November, which statement comes closer to your view: The Republicans should compromise with the Democrats and President Obama to get things done or the Republicans should stand firm on their positions even if it means things don’t get done.” Seventy-two percent of registered voters favored compromise, versus only 22% of respondents who indicated the Republicans should stand firm on their beliefs.
The USA Today/Gallup poll survey was conducted among a sample of 1,021 adults. The margin of error is ±4.0 percentage points.