People Say They Want Compromise But Not Really : It's All Politics A new poll shows that people want politicians to compromise...but only those of the other party.
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People Say They Want Compromise But Not Really

President Obama shakes Speaker John Boehner's hand before the start of a 2011 joint session of Congress. Getty Images hide caption

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President Obama shakes Speaker John Boehner's hand before the start of a 2011 joint session of Congress.

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The new Congress is 100 days old, and already Americans disapprove. According to the latest data from the Pew Research Center, nearly 40 percent of Americans think the newest Congress has accomplished less than expected — that's around twice the share who thought the same of the new Democratic Congress in 2007 and three times what people thought of the GOP Congress in 1995.

The public's opinion of the new Congress is also worse on another metric: only 23 percent believe Republicans have kept their campaign promises. This opinion has also been lower each time Congress has changed hands over the last two decades.

But then, it's not exactly clear what Congress could do to improve this perception. Yes, they could come together and pass more bills, but survey respondents also aren't exactly excited about their own parties compromising with the opposition. The plurality of Democrats, 49 percent, said Obama should challenge Republicans more often, and the vast majority of Republicans, 75 percent, said GOP members of Congress should challenge Obama more often.

Rather, both Democrat and Republican respondents overwhelmingly said they wanted concessions from the opposite party — 66 percent of Democrats said they want the GOP to go along with Obama more often, and 68 percent of Republicans said Obama should capitulate to the GOP more often.

Legislators have been notably unproductive in recent years, with their last two sessions the least productive in recent memory, as Pew found in another late-2014 analysis.

This deadlock has come as Congress has grown ever more polarized. The intransigence between the two parties has led to record-low approval ratings, not to mention shutdowns and repeated debt ceiling fights.