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Saturday, October 22, 2016

In the wake of the Republican Party’s near-sweep of the midterm elections, the Beltway media and politicians from both sides of the aisle profess to agree on one thing: Democrats and Republicans must set aside their partisan squabbles and finally get back to the hard work of governing.

“When the American people choose divided government, I don’t think it means they don’t want us to do anything,” soon-to-be Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) proclaimed after the election. “We ought to start with the view that maybe there are some things we can agree on to make progress for the country.”

Just as long as nobody tells his Republican base.

A new Pew Research Center survey, released Wednesday, finds that Republicans are dead set against seeing their representatives in Congress compromising with President Obama. Overall, Americans agree 57 to 40 percent that Republican leaders “should try as best they can to work with Barack Obama to accomplish things, even if it means disappointing some groups of Republican supporters.” But Republicans and Republican-leaning independents view things very differently; just 32 percent want to see GOP leaders work with the president, while 66 percent would prefer seeing them “‘stand up’ to Obama on issues that are important to Republican supporters, even if it means less gets done in Washington.”

Those numbers are the inverse of Democratic attitudes towards compromise, and represent Republicans’ most obstinate stance in any of Pew’s last three post-election surveys.

Pew Chart

Similarly, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree by a 57 to 39 percent margin that their party’s leadership should move in a more conservative direction, rather than moderating. By contrast, Democrats would prefer to see their party moderate its policies.

Pew Chart 2

In other words, Republican voters strongly believe that they have provided a mandate for Congress to bring conservative change to Washington. There’s just one problem: The rest of the nation disagrees. Just 44 percent of the public approves of Republican leaders’ policies and plans for the future, while 43 percent disapprove. Similarly, while 41 percent want Republican leaders to take the lead in solving the nation’s problems, 40 percent would prefer that President Obama sets the agenda.

If all of this strikes you as a recipe for more gridlock, then you are in good company. Just 18 percent told Pew that relations between Republicans and Democrats will get better in the coming year, and less than 50 percent believe that either President Obama or Republican leaders will successfully enact their agendas.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via

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  • So, conservatives are obstinate and think it should be their way or the highway. What else is new?

    • MagnaDave

      Yes, voting for the people who created the gridlock in the belief that they are the ones to solve it may not have been the best plan, ever.

      • They really have no clue how to govern.
        Unfortunately, we will all have to suffer another two years of inept useless government because of it.

    • Buffalo Bill

      I see you found this site. Much more friendly than Politico, but not as much traffic.

  • Intolerantcentrist

    The relevant question now is; will they reach compromise between their own bickering factions (Mainstream vs. Tea Party)… The GOP’s control of Congress may bring into focus the rifts within the Party, more so than with Obama.

    • Doubtful given the result of the poll in the article, it seems the mantra of the far right is clear. NO COMPROMISE. So grid lock it will be.
      Well, at least some post offices will get named.

      • Amanda Fred

        @disqus_OgUpjjr3sU:disqus up to I l oo ke d a t t h e d raf t o v $ 6 4 2 4 , I ha v e f a i th t ha t m y m o t h e r i n l a w w a s l i k e t h e y s a y t r u l y e r n i n g m o n e y p ar t -t i m e o n t h ei r a p p l e l a bt o p.. t he r e b e s t f r ie n d s t ar te d d o in g t hi s f or o nl y a b ou t 2 0 m o n t h s a n d j u s t n o w r e p a y e d t h e d e p t s o n t he r e h o m e an d b ou r t t h em s e l v e s a M e r c e d es . I w en t h e r e ,▇▇▇▇▇▇▇▇✒✒✒..&nbsphttp://GoogleProjects/get/position/Vip-salary

  • ExRadioGuy15

    The author is just realizing this now?
    I’ve already posted several times on social media, including on a couple of National Memo comment threads, what the GOP will try to do with the Congressional majorities it’ll have starting next year.
    Bottom line: EVEN LESS will get done as the GOP will ratchet up its Fascist, insurrectionist and seditious obstruction campaign.
    If you thought the last two Congresses were “Do-Nothing”, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet…ssmdh

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      Unfortunately for our country I think you are right and you are a kindred soul with me in that you too use the words “fascist, insurrectionist, and seditious” which none of our Democratic leaders (dare) use but which is right on target.

  • elw

    The problem with most conservatives is they always take the short view. Yes they did win the mid-terms, but they have to understand that only 38% of registered voters actually voted in this past election, the lowest number since the early 1940’s. That is hardly a mandate and no indication the Country stand behind their policies or values. They forget to take note that in the same States they won elections the voters voted in progressive Laws that made same sex marriage legal (30 States all together, last time I looked), to decriminalize the use of Pot, to increase in the minimum wage, to name a few. Honestly I cannot explain why the same people voted for those who do not support the policies they voted for, but I will say that taking away what the people want, will not make the GOP popular. The American collective voter is a beast, a bit unpredictable and has a history of striking hard when it gets angry. So the GOP has two short years to prove they can get things done, act like adults and see past their own personal agenda with the laws they try and pass. They will not be treated kindly if don’t. I am betting they will continue to act childishly, insulting far too many voting blocks and be arrogant enough to actually believe they have a mandate. The do nothing Congress of 2014 will become a do nothing and circus Congress of 2015 -16 and a treasure box of material for late night comics.

    • dana becker

      It matters not to them. They will rig the Presidential election.

      • elw

        Oh they will try; it is just a much harder thing to do successfully in a National election and much easier to be caught-at than at a local level. You have to remember that only 38% of registered voters actually voted in November and that Democratic voter tend to skip mid-terms (unless they are really mad about something) – this one was an easy one for them to win – the gerrymandering was most likely enough.

  • Justin Napolitano

    Obama should tell the Republicans to go F.. themselves. They do not have all of the power and the President can stop 90% of their agenda.
    For all of you Republicans out there, what do you call 100 dead Republicans in a garbage bin? Answer: a good start.

  • highpckts

    And is anyone surprised????

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    To me the most important statistic is that a clear majority of my fellow Democrats want our party to hew to a MODERATE rather than more liberal posture. I’ve been saying this for some time. If we want to doom ourselves and our country to a President Huckabee/Cruz/Paul/Bush/Santorum/Ryan/Rubio all we need to is lurch to the left and seriously consider someone like Bernie Sanders. It is not that I wholly disagree with Sen. Sanders-I don’t; it is that anyone who thinks the US will elect a humorless, Jewish, socialist to the presidency is delusional. I like Sen. Warren-contributed to her campaign-but she can’t win either. Either we Democrats stay as a moderate, centrist, pragmatically liberal party or we’re doomed. Our greatest danger as a party are not our Republican enemies…it is the leftist radicals who refuse to realize they are as much a minority in this country as the rightist Tea Partiers.