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Poll Shows Public Wants Compromise... Up to a Point

Senators gather in the Old Senate Chamber for a bipartisan caucus before the swearing in of the 110th Congress Jan. 4.
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Senators gather in the Old Senate Chamber for a bipartisan caucus before the swearing in of the 110th Congress Jan. 4.

Overwhelmingly, Americans see the country as divided, and value political leaders who try to bridge the gap. But like politicians, the public finds compromise much tougher on the very toughest issues of the day, according to a new poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

In the weeks since the 2006 election returned divided government to Washington, politicians from both parties have responded to the vote with pledges to work together.

The survey, a collaboration between NPR News and the Pew Research Center, is a foundation for our series Crossing the Divide, which explores what the American public thinks about bipartisanship and leadership today, and about conflict and compromise in politics and policy.

Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, discusses the poll results and what they mean.

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