56% talk politics with friends or family very often, but just 14% call it "overwhelming"
About half are angry at both parties for their handling of top issues
31% feel well-represented by the government in Washington
Americans are spending a lot of time talking politics these days, and one clear consensus amid the partisan strife is that most want compromise from the government in Washington.
In a new CNN/ORC poll, 72% say they’d like President Donald Trump to attempt to reach bipartisan compromise on bills he tries to get through Congress, and nearly as many, 69%, say they want to see the Democrats in Congress try to compromise with the President rather than resist his policies.
In 2009, shortly after Barack Obama took office with Democratic control of both houses of Congress, fewer, 55%, were in search of compromise from him.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what people want out of their own partisans.
Those who consider themselves political supporters of Trump are more evenly divided on whether the President should compromise – 48% say he should compromise, 50% say he should pass laws without Democratic support. (Republicans more broadly are more supportive of compromise: 57% say so. It’s one of the few places in the poll where self-identified Trump supporters and self-identified Republicans diverge.)
And Democrats are split the same way on whether the Democrats in Congress should try to compromise (48%) or resist (50%) in dealing with Trump.
This desire for compromise comes as politics has become a dominant topic for Americans of all stripes.
Most – 56% – say that they talk politics with friends or family “very often,” a rise of 11 points since 2013 and about double the share who said they were discussing politics that often in 2002. Not all are put off by the increased political conversation, though. While 69% say they see those discussions as a source a stress more than enjoyment, most, 57%, say the amount of time they spend on politics in an average day is about right.
Still, 39% say they’re spending too much time on politics, including 14% who find it overwhelming. Among those who say it’s too much, about half, 45%, say they have taken steps to reduce the amount of time they spend on politics. This group is more apt to say they’ve changed the way they use social media (59% report having done that) or their news sources (57% have done that) than that they’ve limited interactions with certain friends or family members (42%).
Even those who aren’t feeling overtaken by politics do report making some changes in response to things they’ve seen or heard about politics lately. Among those who say the amount of time they spend on politics is “about right,” about a third (33%) say they’ve changed their news sources, 30% have adjusted their social media usage and 22% have limited interactions with certain friends or family members.
Who is most likely to be talking politics? Republicans, for one. About two-thirds (65%) say they discuss it with friends or family very often, as do 55% of Democrats and 53% of independents. Suburbanites (66%) and urbanites (55%) are more likely to be having frequent political discussions than are their rural counterparts (45%). And those under age 35 are far less likely to be frequently talking politics than are their elders (46% vs. 61% among those age 35 or older).
There are also partisan differences in how people are responding to recent political news. Republicans are more likely to have changed their news habits than are Democrats (41% vs. 29%), while Democrats are more apt than Republicans to have limited their interactions with certain friends or family members (31% vs. 22%). Independents, meanwhile, have done both at fairly high rates (41% changed news sources, 27% limited contact with friends or family) and are more likely to have changed their social media usage (39% vs. 33% of Republicans and 32% of Democrats).
Americans generally are feeling more well represented by the government in Washington than they were as the presidential election campaign kicked off last year – 31% say they are “very” or “somewhat” well represented by the federal government, up from 24% last spring.
Of course, there’s been a big shift in partisan responses to that question (from 10% of Republicans feeling represented to 51% now, while Democrats have dipped from 42% to 20% feeling well represented).
And looking at Trump’s core supporters, only 8% of those who were Trump supporters in the GOP primary back then said they felt well-represented; 49% who consider themselves political supporters of Trump now feel well-represented.
The Democratic and Republican party’s favorability ratings have evened out, so the Democrats’ post-election dip to lower ratings than the GOP seems short-lived. In the new poll, 44% have a favorable take on the Democrats (up from 39% in late November), 42% on the Republicans.
About half (49%) say they are angry at both parties for the way they are dealing with the country’s problems, 14% at only the Republicans, 13% at only the Democrats (up from 7% in 2015), and 25% say they’re not angry with either.
Below the surface, partisan views have shifted. In 2015, Republicans were mostly angry at both parties (60%), now, just 38% say they’re angry at both and the share angry with only the Democrats has climbed (37%, up from 20%). Among Democrats, the share not angry at either party has dropped from 30% to 18%, while more now say they are angry at both (42%, up from 32%).
The CNN/ORC poll was conducted March 1 through 4 by telephone among a random national sample of 1,025 Americans. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, it is higher for subgroups.