The Washington Post

The GOP’s biggest sin: ‘unwilling to compromise’

A new poll from Gallup shows that Americans' biggest problem with today's Republican Party is that it's unwilling to compromise.

The poll asked respondents an open-ended question about one or two critiques of the GOP. The top response -- at 21 percent -- was that the party was inflexible and/or unwilling to compromise.

No. 2 was that the party was too friendly to the rich and/or anti-middle class (12 percent), while No. 3 was the antithesis of No. 1 -- that Republicans didn't stand on principle enough and/or give in too easily (9 percent).

Interestingly, more Republicans -- 26 percent -- say their party's biggest problem is that it's unwilling to compromise than say it's their failure to stand on principle -- 14 percent. And more Republican name failure to compromise than either independents or Democrats. (Democrats prefer to suggest the GOP is out of touch on social issues and favors the rich.)

Despite the poll's finding, individual Republican members of Congress continue to have plenty of incentive to hold firm and resist compromise. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that Republican voters preferred principled stands to compromise by a margin of 55 percent to 36 percent.

And the vast majority of Republican members have more to fear in their primaries than they do in the general election.

But it remains a significant issue for the GOP in appealing to the broader electorate. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed 67 percent thought Republicans were doing too little to compromise, while 48 percent thought Democrats were doing too little.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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