The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Republicans and Democrats have vastly different views on race and police. But they agree on solutions.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio bows his head in an observance of a moment of silence at City Hall for the two slain NYPD officers in New York, Dec. 23, 2014.(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Congress doesn't get much done these days. But it has a really good chance right now.

Issues of race and police -- as with most things these days -- are deeply divisive. And our new poll shows that divide is as much about partisanship as race; white Democrats tends to be much closer to non-whites than to white Republicans, as our Dan Balz and Scott Clement report. Hence, more partisan gridlock ahead, right?

Well, maybe not. Even as people can't even agree on how big the problem is (or whether there is a problem at all), there is something almost everyone agrees upon: the solutions.

Or, at least some of the solutions.

The poll shows an almost-unheard-of amount of consensus when it comes to proposed changes in how law enforcement conducts its business.

It shows 86 percent of Americans support requiring patrol officers in their areas to wear small video cameras while on duty -- a finding in line with other polling on this subject.

What's a little more surprising, though, is the consensus on another issue related to the Ferguson and Eric Garner cases: independent prosecutors. The poll shows about the same percentage -- 87 percent -- support having these outsiders handle cases in which unarmed Americans are killed by police.

It's hard to overstate the consensus on these two issues. The lowest amount of support for each is among self-described "conservative Republicans," and 76 percent of them support independents prosecutors and 79 percent support body cameras.

There is even overwhelming support for these changes among those who don't really see there being a problem right now.

While Americans overall say the grand jury was wrong not to charge the officer involved in the choking of Garner (Garner later died), Republicans are more likely to agree with the decision (50 percent) than to disagree (35 percent).

And here's how popular these two proposals are: Among those Republicans who say the grand jury got it right -- i.e. those who think there really isn't much of a problem here that warrants action -- even 76 percent of them support independent prosecutors. Just 22 percent are opposed.

These are the kind of consensuses you just don't often see.

Now, does that mean Congress will return in January and immediately pass legislation on body cameras and independent prosecutors? Of course not. Plenty of popular policy ideas never get passed for a wide variety of reasons. A similar portion of Americans, for example, supported expanded background checks for gun purchases last year, and that never happened. And in this case, law enforcement and unions might fight the proposed changes -- particularly when it comes to ceding power to independent prosecutors.

In addition, a CBS News poll conducted earlier this month showed lower support for independent prosecutors when you offer local district attorneys as an alternative. Then, it was 49 percent in favor of independent prosecutors and 39 percent in favor of local DAs.

But as this new Post-ABC poll shows, broad consensus on these solutions are possible. From there, it's whether Congress can make it work.

As we often caution, though, it's best not to hold one's breath.