Now that we know the supercommittee failed, one question is whether it ever had a chance. This post by Nolan McCarty suggests not.

McCarty tested every member of the supercommittee against a standard measure of congressional polarization. The Republicans on the supercommittee, he found, were significantly farther to the right, and the Democrats farther to the left, than the median member of their parties. He even ran an experiment where a computer randomly drew 12 members of Congress, six from each party, 1,000 times. Only 90 of the draws led to panels that were more polarized than the actual supercommittee. The supercommittee was built to fail, or at least to vehemently disagree.