Election Still Over; Republicans Still Lost

by Brien Jackson

Greg Sargent reports on the broader public’s desire for bipartisanship:

You routinely hear it asserted that the public wants bipartisan comity in Washington, but some striking numbers buried in the internals of the new New York Times poll find that in the current context, precisely the opposite is true:

Which do you think should be a higher priority for Barack Obama right now — working in a bipartisan way with Republicans in Congress or sticking to the policies he promised he would during the campaign:

Working bipartisan way: 39%

Sticking to policies: 56%

So a sizable majority wants Obama to pursue his policies with our without Republican support. Meanwhile, a huge majority says that Republicans should emphasize working with Obama in a bipartisan way over pursuing their policy ideas:

Which do you think should be a higher priority for Republicans in Congress right now — working in a bipartisan way with Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress or sticking to Republican policies?

Working bipartisan way: 79%

Sticking to policies: 17%

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen poll numbers suggest this clearly that the public has no interest in bipartisanship for its own sake.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen poll numbers like that either, but really, there’s nothing that surprising about it. The electorate has a pretty intuitive sense for consistency in election outcomes, especially when the election was less than 4 months ago. With that in mind, these findings make a lot of sense. Obama won a pretty broad victory in November, meaning a lot of people preferred his policies. It makes sense then that that position really hasn’t changed in less than 1/3 of a year, and so most people prefer that he do waht they elected him to do, instead of what the people they decided not to vote for want to do. On the other hand, they want the minority to be more accomodating of the majority they elected (and of course you have the people who do want the Broderian “bipartisanship” thrown in). It’s striking in how clearly it lays bare the utter silliness of Broderism, but as a study in the broader electorate, it’s a fairly banal observation.