Poll: Americans have more faith in Democrats to pursue bipartisan solutions

Nearly two-in-three Americans say they believe President Obama will make a sincere effort to reach bipartisan solutions to the country's woes, but only about half say the same thing about congressional Republicans, according to results of USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday.

Sixty-five percent of Americans said they believe Obama will make a sincere effort to work with Republican leaders to find solutions to the nation’s problems. Fifty-seven percent said the same of Democrats in Congress. Only 48 percent said Republicans in Congress will make a sincere bipartisan effort.

Democrats appear more bullish than Republicans that the opposing party will compromise, with 38 percent of the Democrats who were polled saying Republicans will make a sincere bipartisan effort, and just 27 percent of Republicans saying the same thing about Democrats.

The poll comes as congressional leaders and the White House are beginning negotiations over how to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" at the start of 2013. More than two-in-three (68 percent) Americans said both Democrats and Republicans should compromise in the negotiations. Fourteen percent said Democrats should compromise, and the same number said Republicans should compromise more.

The percentage of Americans saying they believe Obama will make a sincere push for bipartisanship is almost exactly what it was in a Gallup survey taken after the 2010 midterm elections, in which Republicans won their largest House majority in 60 years. (It was 64 percent back then.) Americans’ belief that congressional Democrats and Republicans will make a sincere push at bipartisanship has ticked up a bit since 2010.

Following the 2008 election, Americans overwhelmingly believed Obama would put forth a sincere bipartisan effort, with 80 percent saying they believed he would do so. At the time, slightly more Americans (62 percent) said they believed Republicans in Congress would make a sincere bipartisan effort than said they believed congressional Democrats would do so (59 percent).

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

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Sean Sullivan · November 19, 2012