Americans favor compromise from their elected leaders in Washington, D.C., according to a new Gallup poll.
“A majority of Americans say it’s more important that political leaders in Washington compromise in order to get things done, rather than stick to their beliefs, even as Congress heads for a government shutdown for the second time in less than two months because of partisan disagreements,” reported Gallup.com on Sept. 26.
“Conservatives and Republicans are closely split over whether leaders should stick to their beliefs or compromise. However, the preponderance of moderates, liberals, independents and Democrats favor compromise,” wrote Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor in chief. “But even among the more conservative segments of the population, roughly a third are at the ‘compromise’ end of the spectrum.”
The Gallup poll found that 51 percent of adults favored compromise, compared to 28 percent of adults who thought it more important to “stick to beliefs.”
Republicans were evenly split with 36 percent for compromise and 37 percent for adhering to beliefs.
Democrats were the opposite. They were polls apart with 62 percent favoring compromise and 20 percent expressing the position that it was “more important to stick to beliefs.”
Newport wrote, “Tea Party supporters stand out as the sole group that shows a clear preference for sticking to beliefs rather than compromising, 45 percent vs. 31 percent, although less than a majority of even this group chooses one of the two options at the ‘compromise’ end of the scale.”
The theme of compromise has increasingly appeared in speeches and commentary.
Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has challenged conservatives not to compromise.
She said, “The issue is, who will be our nominee? Will it be someone who understands these issues so that they will go and fight for them, or will we have a compromise candidate?”
Speaking to students at Jerry Falwell-founded Liberty University, Bachmann spoke of compromise in faith terms.
“Don’t settle,” said Bachmann. “Don’t settle for anything less than what this great and mighty God has planned for you.”
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman criticized President Obama and the leadership of both parties for the refusal to compromise.
“[B]oth parties seem to have concluded lately that no compromise is possible and therefore their differences will just have to be settled by the 2012 election,” wrote Friedman, who called for a “Grand Bargain” to save the country.
A conservative Christian reporter wrote, “Recent actions by President Obama suggest he has given up on trying to find common ground with Republicans on legislation. Instead, Obama has set his sights on winning in November 2012.”
“Obama has been giving his liberal base what they have been asking for,” wrote Napp Nazworth on the Christian Post. “With his jobs bill and deficit reduction proposals released this month and his recent speeches, Obama has signaled that he has given up on trying to work with Republicans.”
Speaking at Southern Methodist University, former secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “Unfortunately today, compromise has become a dirty word, synonymous with abandoning your principles – of walking away from what you believe in. And yet the Constitution itself is a bundle of compromise.”