Republicans' overwhelming midterm victory last Tuesday is seen less as a mandate for their policies than as a rejection of Democrats' tenure in office, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, which also finds both parties are now viewed as about equally extreme.
Just 15 percent of Americans say last week's midterms were more of a mandate for Republican policies, while 56 percent say they were more of a rejection of Democratic policies. The remaining 29 percent were unsure.
Even Republicans were 70 points more likely to see the election as a repudiation of Democrats than as a mandate for their own party's policies.
The results show an atmosphere similar to the one after the 2010 Republican takeover of the House, which just 17 percent considered a mandate, according to a CNN poll.
Much as in previous years, a majority of Americans still want both sides to work together. While most independents, however, want both sides to give ground, partisans are more keen on seeing their rivals compromise: Democrats overwhelmingly think the GOP should compromise, but are split on whether President Barack Obama should stick to his positions or work across the aisle; Republicans, meanwhile, take the opposite view.
Worryingly for Democrats, they're now viewed as being nearly as extreme in their views as the GOP, according to the HuffPost/YouGov results.
Forty-three percent of Americans say the Republican Party is too extreme, compared to 36 percent who say it isn't. Opinions are relatively similar about the Democratic Party, with 41 percent saying it's too extreme, and 39 percent that it's not.
Political independents were several points more likely to say Democrats were extreme than to say the same about Republicans.
Asked which party was more extreme, Americans were about evenly divided, with 32 percent naming the Democrats, 33 percent the Republicans, and 35 percent unsure or saying the parties were equally extreme.
This seemingly marks a significant change from polling conducted in the wake of the government shutdown, which overwhelmingly found the GOP viewed as the more extreme party. Pew Research surveys, which don't explicitly give the options of "both" or "undecided," found the Republicans viewed as more extreme as recently as this fall.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Nov. 6-7 among 1,000 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. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.