Fifty percent of Biden voters say the president should compromise some of his positions in order to work with the GOP, the poll finds, with 30% saying he should stick to his positions even if it means not coming to an agreement. The rest aren’t sure.
By contrast, a 57% majority of voters who backed former President Donald Trump say that Republicans in Washington should stick to their positions, with just 28% favoring compromise.
Both sides, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly believe their opponents should be amenable to a compromise.
The question is a general one, meaning it doesn’t necessarily signal how Americans will respond to compromises on specific policies or political issues. But the results signal something about the tenor and rhetoric that people in each party tend to favor.
Polling in December found a similar partisan asymmetry in appetites for bipartisanship. The intervening time included a number of events that could have reshaped Americans’ attitudes about comity, including Democrats retaking control of the Senate, the insurrection at the Capitol and the second impeachment of Trump, but appeared to not substantially alter opinions on working across the aisle.
In his inaugural address, Biden attempted to strike a unifying note.
“I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy,” he said Wednesday. “I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. … We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature.”
Political unity, of course, isn’t the same thing as agreeing on policy issues. But the public is generally pessimistic about the prospects of bipartisan cooperation. Americans say, 60% to 17%, that it’s unrealistic to expect that Republicans and Democrats will work together for the benefit of the American people over the next few years. Trump voters say by a 78-point margin that such a goal is unrealistic, while Biden voters agree by a much smaller 19-point margin.
A 78% majority of Biden voters say they expect that he is at least somewhat likely to work with Republicans, while just 17% of Trump voters have similar expectations for bipartisan outreach from the president. There’s a less pronounced political divide on how elected Republicans might respond. Trump voters say — 51% to 40% — that GOP legislators are unlikely to work with Biden; 43% of Biden voters think this is at least somewhat likely, compared to 46% who find it unlikely.
Just 28% of Americans say they expect Biden to achieve most or all of his campaign goals, with 54% saying they believe he’ll achieve just some or hardly any of them. About half of Biden’s voters think he will accomplish most or all of his goals as president.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Jan. 12-15 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.
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. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.