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Public favors compromise, Repubs less so, Tea Partiers still less so

It’s hard for a poll to explore the question of whether the public favors compromise in a situation like the debt-ceiling impasse. If you ask: “Do you think the parties should compromise or stand on principle?”it’s easy for a respondent who identifies with a particular party to say yes, when what the person mean is that the other party should compromise so his party can get what it wants.

Pew Research Center uses a question designed to get around the compromise-means-the-other-side-should-cave problem. It goes like this:

What would you like lawmakers who share your views on this issue to do?

Should they stand by their principles, even if that means the government goes into default


Should they be willing to compromise, even if that means they strike a deal you disagree with.

In a poll fresh out this afternoon, Pew found that by 68 to 23 Americans favor a compromise, even it produces a deal with which they disagree.

But, as further evidence that something about today’s Republicans is less open to compromise, the poll found that Republicans favor a compromise solution less than Democrats or independents. Thus:

81 percent of Democrats favor compromise, 69 percent of independents favor it, but just 53 percent of Republicans said they would want their congresspeople to compromise even if a failure to compromise meant default.

Pew used other questions to probe within the group of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents to separate them into those who agree with the Tea Party and those who disagree. And, perhaps not surprisingly, a majority of Tea Party agree-ers (53 percent) said they would prefer default to compromise, while among Republicans who don’t agree with the Tea Party only 24 percent said that default was preferable to compromise.

Pew, by the way, has used this question before and the share of respondents who favor compromise has risen. In an early April poll, compromise led by 55-36 compared to 68-23 now.

According to Pew, the public doesn’t approve of anyone involved in the impasse, but disapproves of Pres. Obama the least (44 percent approve to 48 percent disapprove). That compares with 30 percent who approve of the work of Democratic congressional leaders and 25 percent who approve of Repub leaders.

Of the full sample, 60 percent said they favored a combination of spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit, 19 percent say the focus should be mostly on cutting spending and eight percent said   the focus should be mostly on raising taxes.

A long writeup of the full poll is here. The full questionnaire is here.

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Comments (12)

  1. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 07/26/2011 - 06:55 pm.

    Frankly it is more important to me that they get it right than that achieve the lofty grounds of ‘compromise’. Having said that I’d rather not go into default, even if that means getting a less than ideal deal.
    I think one of the reasons that Tea Party folks aren’t afraid of default is because the rhetoric being used is so over the top. They remember how we had to rush to pass the Patriot Act, TARP and the various bailouts. In retrospect, it would have been nice if we’d dragged our feet a bit with each of those.
    Add to this that Obama won’t go along with a short term deal and that only ratchets up the anxiety. If the consequences are so horrific then why can’t we do something for six months and see where we’re at then?

  2. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 07/27/2011 - 08:01 am.

    I wonder what the polls would be if the “compromise” was raising taxes on everybody instead of just raising them on those folks over there?

    It’s always amazed me how easy it is for some people to confiscate and spend other people’s money.

  3. Submitted by Norm Champ on 07/27/2011 - 09:13 am.

    I suggest Peder read the Pew Poll (which is the subject of the article). The new folks in St. Paul and Washington know what is “right” and cannot even glance at any other way. It was easier to get elected in an off year election than to provide governance. The line in the sand may work at the church alter, but proves to be not any way to come to any agreement with any large body of views and people. Their minds are welded shut. The american public is sick of the deadlock (subject of the article), and WANTS compromise!

  4. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/27/2011 - 09:44 am.

    So 5% of the population is going to determine our domestic policy.

  5. Submitted by Howard Miller on 07/27/2011 - 11:35 am.

    Our most pressing short term problem is that the debt ceiling needs to be raised. After that, we need to double-down on efforts to create more living wage jobs. If we get a jobs recovery, housing will stabilize and the federal deficit problem will be a lot more manageable. Fixing the federal deficit is a third priority, not our first.

    If, on the other hand, we don’t get some job growth, housing can’t stabilize, and we’ll find ourselves in recession again, as Republican-required tax cuts take the little steam left in recovery, dissipate it.

    (sarcasm warning)

    But at least the wealthiest among us – those who have benefited in real income gains the past 20 years through thick and thin, will continue to enjoy their low tax rates, though we’re at war and in economic crisis.

  6. Submitted by John Clawson on 07/27/2011 - 12:26 pm.

    I know who Republican leaders are in this state–and nation, too, as far as that goes. I know where the Republican state office office and have a pretty decent idea where their money comes from and who it goes to. I know how they caucus and govern themselves. The same can be said about the DFL party here in Minnesota. I know all the same stuff about them. “T-Partiers”??? Have no idea who their leaders are, or where their money comes from, really. Have no idea how to find them or how they organize themselves. Hear a lot of calls from them (whoever “they” are) for transparency, but they are the least transparent political group in the country. Am wondering what their credibility is beyond shouting and yammering and threatening. They remind me of nothing so much as the old “know Nothings” of the 1830s and 1840s. Anti-everything that America became after the Civil War. They wrapped themselves in Constitution and flag, fear, threats, over-blown and overheated rhetoric that had no basis in fact,amounted to about 5% of the electorate and would have ruined the country had they been at all successful in anything they advocated. They (whoever ‘they’ are) are big at advocating their 1st amendment rights. But the cool thing about the first amendment is that it gives you every right to speak out but no right to be heard, listened to or given credibility.

  7. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 07/27/2011 - 01:28 pm.

    In another recent poll on the deficit (CBS, July 15-17), these figures resulted:

    55% of Republicans support both cuts & tax increases, as do 53% of TeaPartyers, 71% of Democrats and 68% of Independents

    39% of Republicans support cuts only, as do 44% of TeaPartyers, 20% of Democrats and 28% of Independents

    Of the total surveyed, only 3% want tax increases only, 28% want spending cuts only, and 68% want both spending cuts and tax increases.

    The only budget plan that agrees with what the public wants is the one released in April by the Democratic Progressive Caucus: The People’s Budget. It would achieve:

    Deficit reduction of $5.6 trillion
    Spending cuts of $1.7 trillion
    Revenue increase of $3.9 trillion
    Public investment of $1.7 trillion (JOBS in clean energy, infrastructure, broadband, housing and R&D)

  8. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/27/2011 - 02:02 pm.

    Taxation without representation is tyranny–
    taxation by your elected representatives is the rule of law.
    If you don’t like the laws, elect someone who will change them.

  9. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 07/28/2011 - 06:39 am.

    At this stage in our history, I am giving up on the notion of the Democratic Party as a presidential party. I just don’t think Republicans will allow Democratic presidents to govern effectively, and the country needs an effective president. What I think should happen is that the president should decline to run again, and endorse Mitt Romney, with whom he has no significant policy differences. Mitt could run on a national unity ticket, and when elected, govern effectively with Democratic and moderate Republican support in Congress.

  10. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 07/28/2011 - 09:04 am.

    Paul (#8), I’m not sure how the comment connects to anything that I’ve written. I don’t disagree with it at all.

    I mentioned doubts about the rhetoric being used a couple of days ago. Since then we’ve learned that a) August 2nd really isn’t the drop dead day, b) the White House hasn’t bothered to actually write up a proposal(!) and c) both Boehner and Reid have similar proposals out there on how to tie this up.
    This suggests to me a fairly last minute deal. Isn’t this always the way it is in these high profile situations?

  11. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/28/2011 - 12:21 pm.

    My apologies.
    I cut-and-pasted the wrong name (always a bad habit).
    The comment was intended for Dennis Tester @ #2

  12. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 07/29/2011 - 11:12 am.

    And for those who question the right of the government to levy taxes, that question was settled in 1786 with the writing of the Constitution and the acknowledgment that the Articles of Confederation were a failed experiment.
    Look up Shays Rebellion.

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