…Indeed, as the political debate has become more divisive, the support for compromise has waned somewhat. Sure, it still wins majority support at 57 percent. But in February 2009, 66 percent supported compromise in a similar poll taken by ABC News and the Washington Post. And ultimately, what many appear to want in a “compromise” is a deal that moves policy in the direction of their own beliefs.

“There’s a very strong theme now within the polls that people want to see Washington work. They don’t think it works, but they have very different answers as to what the solution is,” says Taylor Griffin, a former McCain aide who is now a principal at Hamilton Place Strategies. “The rub is, they want to see it work — but for their own interests. The two competing desires are at odds.”

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