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Americans divided on merits of 'compromise'

One of the few undeniable trends of this midterm season is that most Americans who are expected to go to the polls this November are fed up with their political leaders. But is that because they want representatives who are more willing to reach across the aisle and compromise on tough issues, or is it because they believe leaders should be more principled about sticking to their beliefs?

It may depend on which political party they favor.

A new Society for Human Research Management/National Journal Congressional Connection poll out today shows that American adults are divided on the value of 'compromise.' About half of respondents said that they most admire politicians who “who stick to their positions without compromising,” while 42 percent said they value leaders “who make compromises with people they disagree with.”

But according to the poll, which was conducted with the Pew Research Center, there is a pronounced divide between the parties on the question.

Nearly two-thirds of Republicans in the survey (62 percent) said that they prefer politicians who refuse to modify their positions over those who negotiate. A majority (54 percent) of Democrats feel the opposite, favoring compromisers.

The numbers for independents are similar to those of Republicans; just 40 percent commend compromisers over non-compromisers. Blacks also said they prefer politicians who don’t compromise on principles, by 53-35 percent.

Those who identify with the Tea Party are the least likely to prize leaders who compromise. Seven in ten of Tea Party adherents surveyed said they prefer politicians who stick to their guns.

With Republicans enjoying the advantageous end of an enthusiasm gap heading into the midterms, the numbers paint an electoral picture that appears to favor Congressional gridlock.

For many of the voters who cast votes on Nov. 2, that might be precisely the point.