A recent poll by Gallup shows most Americans would prefer that political leaders compromise to get things done rather than stick to their beliefs. Tea Party supporters are the least supportive of compromise.
Gallup asked those polled to rank on a scale from one to five whether it was more important for political leaders “compromise to get things done,” a one, or to “stick to their beliefs even if little gets done,” ranked five.
The most common answer was “one” with 31 percent. A slight majority of Americans, 51 percent, answered “one” or “two,” indicating they want political leaders to compromise in order to get things done. About one in five, 21 percent, took the neutral “three” position.
Republicans and conservatives were about evenly split between those who wanted political leaders to compromise and those who wanted political leaders to stick to their beliefs.
Among Democrats and independents, on the other hand, a majority supported compromise. Those who described their political ideology as liberal or moderate also preferred compromise to adhering to beliefs.
Among all the variables, whether or not a person supported or did not support the Tea Party was the best predictor of how they would answer the question. Those who said they support the Tea Party Movement were the most likely to say that political leaders should stick to their beliefs even if nothing gets done. Forty-five percent of those respondents answered “four” or “five” on the scale. Among those who said they opposed the Tea Party Movement, 69 percent, the highest of any category, said that political leaders should compromise to get things done.
The results are consistent with previous findings and congressional behavior. In an early August poll conducted by Gallup, 53 percent of Tea Party supporters said they would prefer that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction not reach an agreement if it means compromising with on a plan they disagree with.
During the debate over raising the nation's debt ceiling, Tea Party supporters in Congress were less likely to show support for reaching a compromise agreement, though some Tea Party supporters voted in favor of the compromise bill that became law, and more Democrats voted against it than Republicans.
Tea Party supporters in the House of Representatives have made governing difficult for their Republican leadership. Last week, the House tried to pass a spending bill to fund the government, but the vote failed when 48 Republicans – mostly Tea Party supporters – voted against the bill, along with almost every Democrat.
The results of the new poll indicate that Tea Party supporters in Congress are representing the views of the Tea Party when they show an unwillingness to work on compromise legislation.
The poll of 1,017 United States adults was conducted Sept. 8 through Sept. 11. The margin of error is +/- 4 percent.