Far more Americans believe the country would benefit from greater compromise between Republicans and Democrats than from either party amassing unified control of the White House and Congress, the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor has found.
But, across party lines, few Americans expect such cooperation to increase after a bruising election that left Republicans holding both congressional chambers for President Obama's final two years.
The survey, conducted in late October just before the GOP's electoral sweep, found that even among Americans who identified with either party, only a minority believed that unified control by their side would "make life a lot better" for people like them.
Only about two-fifths of self-identified Republicans said that unified control of the White House, House, and Senate by their party would significantly improve life for people like them; almost exactly the same share of Democrats agreed. Among independents only one in nine thought unified Democratic control would benefit them "a lot"; only one in 20 independents thought the same about unified Republican control.
Americans were much more likely to say their lives would benefit from "Democrats and Republicans compromising more to solve problems in Washington." Just over half of those surveyed though such cooperation would make life a lot better for people like them. Brynn Lobato, a Farmington, N.M., homemaker who did not identify her party allegiance was among them. "It doesn't really matter if it's Democrats or Republicans [controlling Congress]," she said in an interview after the GOP takeover. "We just need to work together, period. We just have to work together and find out what is working and what isn't working and tap on the strengths and move forward with those. I hope they'll be able to do good, positive things for our nation."