Three-fourths of Idahoans want Democratic President Barack Obama and the new GOP-controlled Congress to compromise on major issues and get things done, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.
Idaho’s federal delegation is all Republican, and has been for years.
Obama set out his ideas for the final two years of his administration last week in his State of the Union address to Congress -- and traveled to Boise, a state that didn’t vote for him, to make his case.
Washington, D.C., loves to play the blame game.
But the new survey by Dan Jones & Associates finds little unanimity for such posturing in Idaho.
-- If Obama and Congress end up in gridlock, 38 percent of Idahoans say the president would be to blame, 26 percent say Congress, and 30 percent say both Obama and Congress would equally be at fault.
-- Asked whether Obama and Congress should compromise on issues, or stand firm in their political beliefs, 75 percent said compromise, only 18 percent said stand firm, and 7 percent said they don’t know.
It would make sense that partisan Idahoans would blame the other guy if D.C. gridlock occurs:
-- 60 percent of Republicans say Obama would be to blame for that; 67 percent of Democrats say the GOP-controlled Congress would be to blame.
-- Political independents are split – 26 percent would blame the president, 29 percent would blame Congress, and 39 percent said they both would be to blame.
All three groups – Republicans, Democrats and independents – want compromise in Washington – to various degrees, finds Jones.
Two-thirds of Republicans say compromise, 26 percent said stand firm and don’t compromise.
Ninety-three percent of Democrats want compromise, while 80 percent of political independents want compromise.
Finally, Jones listed half a dozen major issues Congress and the president may well face over the next two years.
And Jones asked respondents to rank each issue as “not at all important” (1) up to “very important (5), with (3) being “neutral.”
Combining (1) and (2) as not important, and (4) and (5) responses as very important, here are his findings:
-- The most important issue for Congress and Obama to deal with is the Social Security funding shortfall, 80 percent very important to 4 percent not at all important.
-- Other issues follow – federal debt, 79-8 percent; tax reform, 72-8 percent; and immigration reform, 66-13 percent.
One issue was seen as not very important: Climate change.
One-third of Idahoans said climate was important to work on, but 47 percent said it was not important at all. The rest were neutral on the subject.
A big difference on climate change by political party: 66 percent of Republicans said it wasn’t important, but 72 percent of Democrats said it was very important.
Likewise, on the federal debt issue, 88 percent of Republicans said it was very important, but only 55 percent of Democrats felt the same way.
Finally, Jones asked about authorizing and building the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Forty-six percent of Idahoans said that was an important issue, but 18 percent said it wasn’t and the rest were neutral.
Fifty-eight percent of Republicans said it was important, Democrats were split, 32 percent saying it was important, 33 percent saying it was not.
Political independents were also split on the pipeline, 36-36 percent.