It’s not exactly a groundswell.
Yet the numbers are moving in the direction of an American public more interested in seeing their political leaders compromise than break down over principle.
Even among Tea Party supporters, whose leaders are intent on forcing a government shutdown if the Democrats won’t accept a brake on the president’s signature health-care program, opinion over compromise versus principle is rather divided.
Gallup has been asking people to rank themselves, on a scale of 1-5, on what they consider the best approach for political leaders in Washington to follow. One stands for the importance of compromise “in order to get things done” and 5 stands for sticking to their beliefs “even if little gets done.”
Back in 2011, the last time Congress was taking the government to the brink, 47 percent said it was more important to compromise and 28 percent said it was better that leaders stick to their beliefs — almost a 20-point spread recorded then. Now, the call for compromise is just over 53 percent, and the demand for principle down to 25 percent — close to a 30-point spread now.
“There continue to be significant partisan and ideological differences in Americans’ views on this philosophical issue,” Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport writes. “Democrats and liberals are most likely to come down on the “compromise” side of the scale — with more than six in 10 of each group placing themselves on that end of the scale.”
“Independents, moderates, and conservatives also tilt significantly toward compromise. Republicans are the most divided among the major political groups, with about as many preferring compromise as sticking to one’s beliefs.”
“Notably, Americans who identify as Tea Party supporters are about as likely to favor compromise as sticking to core beliefs.”