This is the Republican Party’s biggest problem

April 1, 2013

Here's something unusual: Democrats, independents, and Republicans all agree about what's wrong with the Republican Party. In fact, Republicans are, if anything, even more upset about it than Democrats.

The GOP's uniting sin? It won't compromise.

Gallup asked Americans to name their top problem with both the Democrats and the Republicans. They then broke those responses down by party affiliation.

For the Democratic Party, the top problem was...nothing. Really. That was the answer of 20 percent of respondents -- almost all of them Democrats -- and that made it the top answer for the Democratic Party.

In second place, however, was the argument that Democrats spend too much. But there was considerable partisan disagreement about this criticism. Only 10 percent of Democrats and 11 percent of independents brought it up. But it featured in 23 percent of Republican responses. That vaulted it to second place -- but, in reality, spending is the GOP's main complaint about the Democrats more than it's the country's main complaint.

The Republican Party is a different story. There, 22 percent of Democrats, 17 percent of independents, and fully 26 percent of Republicans complained that the GOP refuses to compromise. That's rather remarkable: It turns out that the GOP's rigidity is the top complaint of both Democrats and Republicans. It easily beats "nothing," even among Republicans!

Every other oft-mentioned criticism of the GOP breaks down by partisanship. Twenty percent of Democrats think Republicans protect the rich, but only 2 percent of Republicans agree. Fourteen percent of Republicans think the GOP doesn't stand up for its beliefs, but only 3 percent of Democrats agree. The GOP's resistance to compromise is unique: It's infuriated Democrats, independents, and Republicans.

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Brad Plumer · April 1, 2013