What's going to happen in Washington over the next 2 years? Americans don't expect much.
An exclusive USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll shows pessimism about the prospect for compromise or action by a divided government.
- The messy election for House speaker persuaded Americans by 58%-17% that Republicans are unlikely to compromise with Democrats over the next two years.
- Only one in 10 of those surveyed say neither major party is "too extreme," a sign of fierce polarization.
- Since August, Trump's favorable rating has declined by 7 points among Republcians, 9 points among independents.
Call them realistic: Americans are braced for little compromise and less action in Washington over the next two years of divided government.
The messy fight by Republicans to elect a new House speaker left the public convinced by 61%-17% that the GOP and President Joe Biden are less likely to get anything done together in the new era of divided government, an exclusive USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds. By a wide margin, 58%-17%, they say it seems unlikely that Republicans will do any compromising with Democrats over the next two years.
Half of those surveyed say moderate Republicans in Congress should have struck a deal with moderate Democrats to elect a moderate GOP speaker. A third oppose the idea, which is generally dismissed as inconceivable anyway at a time of fierce polarization.
The survey of 2,010 adults, taken Jan. 10-11 on the Ipsos online panel, has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points for the overall sample, 4.1 points for the Democratic subsample and 4.6 points for the Republican subsample.
McCarthy's election gets mixed reviews: 33% approve, 34% disapprove. There's some cynicism about the motives of the colleagues who forced 15 ballots before the California Republican won the majority he needed: 39% say it was because of grudges, ambition and ego; 29% say it was because of sincere differences on issues of policy and governing.
The vote was followed closely by 51% of those polled, including just 16% who report following it "very closely."
A third, 34%, say the tumultuous election, its machinations on the House floor displayed by C-SPAN cameras, weakened the Republican Party; 19% say it strengthened the GOP.
“People largely tuned out the noise from the historic Speaker of the House voting marathon," Clifford Young, president of U.S. Public Affairs at Ipsos, said. "Though, even without following the vote closely, most Americans agree on one thing – nothing will get done in Washington.”
Both parties judged extreme, even by some of their own
Many of those surveyed find themselves at odds with leaders of their own party.
Among Republican voters, 47% say GOP leaders hold views more conservative than their own, a higher number than the 41% who say their views are about the same. Twelve percent say the leaders are more liberal than they are.
Among Democratic voters, 37% say Democratic leaders are more liberal than they are; 44% say their views are about the same. Nineteen percent say the leaders are more conservative than they are.
In response to another question, 28% overall call the Republican Party "too extreme" and 25% call the Democratic party "too extreme." An additional 26% call both of them extreme.
Only 1 in 10 Americans, say neither party is too extreme, a reflection of how fraught the nation's politics have become. It helps explain why bipartisanship has become so difficult, when one side or the other, or both, are seen as out of the mainstream.
The Republican Party is rated as tougher on crime and better on the economy. The Democratic Party is rated as more likely to be inclusive, to be willing to compromise to get things done and to be effective in pushing its agenda, including using the media.
After inflation, no agreement on the big issues facing the nation
Americans across the board put inflation at the top of their agenda, but after that the consensus ends.
For Republican voters, the main problems facing the nation after that are immigration, government budget and debt, and crime.
For Democratic voters, they are gun violence, climate change and political extremism.
Trump's ratings are on a slide
Ratings of former President Donald Trump continue to slip among both Republican voters and independent voters or people who tend not to vote.
His favorable rating among Republicans is now 74%, down 7 percentage points since the survey taken in August. Among those who don't support either party, his rating is down 9 points, to 30% from 39%.
That decline has cost him the advantage over Biden that he held last summer. Then, Trump's approval rating among independents and nonvoters was 39%, 13 points higher than Biden at 26%. Now Biden's rating has risen to 31%, a single point higher than Trump among the voters who often determine the outcome of elections.