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Compromise not a dirty word, except maybe among Repubs

Compromise not a dirty word, except maybe among Repubs
By Eric Black

The public has mixed feelings about candidates who are willing to compromise, but Republicans like compromise less than Dems or independents.

As part of its recent “Congressional Connection” poll, the Pew Research Center asked respondents whether they were more likely or less to vote for a candidates who was willing to compromise with those with whom he or she disagreed.

Responses were very mixed, but overall a solid plurality of respondents (42 percent) said they would be more likely for a candidate whom they felt was capable of compromising compared with 22 percent who said they would be less likely to vote for a compromiser (the balance said it would make no difference or they didn’t know).

But the partisan breakdown was interesting. Among Democrats and Independents a willingness to compromise was seen as a more positive quality (49-19 percent among Dems; 44-15 among independents). But Republicans, by 35 to 40 percent, were, on balance less likely to support a candidate whom they perceived as willing to compromise.

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(Surely, there’s something a little silly about asking people whether they like compromise without knowing what the compromise is about and what the details of the compromise are, but as a general mesure of public mood in angry times, I found the result interesting.)

If you look at the partisan breakdowns of a couple of related questions in the poll, you’ll find that Republicans were also significantly less willing than Dems or Independents to vote for an incumbent and considerably more willing to vote into Congress a candidate who has never held public office before.