Voters Think Biden Will Try To Work With Republicans, Doubt GOP Will Work With Him

Democratic voters are more likely than Republicans to say their side should prepare to compromise, a new survey finds.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks Monday in Wilmington, Delaware. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (center) listens.
President-elect Joe Biden speaks Monday in Wilmington, Delaware. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (center) listens.

Most voters are pessimistic about the prospects for bipartisanship under the new Biden administration, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey.

The results are a clear case of partisan asymmetry. About half of voters think President-elect Joe Biden will attempt to work with Republicans, but fewer than one-third believe the GOP will try to work with him. Democratic voters say by a 10-percentage-point margin that they’d like Biden to compromise in order to work across the aisle rather than stick to his positions even if it means not coming to an agreement. Republican voters, by a 29-point margin, say Republicans in Washington should stick to their positions.

During the presidential campaign, Biden predicted that the GOP would change following President Donald Trump’s departure, providing more opportunities for cross-party cooperation. Other Democratic lawmakers have expressed less optimism.

As the Biden administration prepares to take office on Jan. 20, the Democrats’ internal debate about the necessity and feasibility of compromising has continued. “I think you’re gonna see a lot more cooperation than anybody thinks,” Biden told Time magazine.

Voters are less convinced. Just 13% believe it’s realistic to expect Democrats and Republicans to work together in the next several years, the survey finds, while about two-thirds call that unrealistic.

Just 28% of voters say it’s even somewhat likely that Republicans in Washington will work with Biden on important issues facing the country, with 59% saying it’s somewhat or very unlikely. A majority of both Republicans and Democrats say they think it’s unlikely. GOP voters say, 54% to 25%, that Republicans in Washington should stick to their positions even if it means not coming to an agreement, rather than compromising in order to work with Biden.

Roughly half of voters, 52%, say it’s at least somewhat likely that Biden will work with Republicans, compared to 41% who call it unlikely. An 85% majority of Democratic voters, but just 16% of Republican voters, think Biden will try to reach across the aisle.

Democratic voters say, 43% to 33%, that Biden should compromise some of his positions in order to work with Republicans. Self-described liberal voters in the party say by a slim 6-point margin that Biden should stick to his positions, while self-described Democratic moderates say by a 39-point margin that he should compromise.

Just 26% of all voters believe Biden will be able to achieve most or all of his campaign goals as president, the survey finds, with 59% saying he’s likely to achieve just some or hardly any of them. The rest are unsure. In 2016, 28% of all Americans predicted that Trump would achieve most or all of his campaign goals.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Dec. 17-20 among U.S. registered voters, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some but not all potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate.

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