Post-election battles likely as Trump supporters in no mood for compromise

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges supporters during a campaign rally Friday.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges supporters during a campaign rally Friday. AP

Even before they pick a new president, voters are signaling a post-election landscape of continued stalemate on major issues such as health care, immigration and the Supreme Court.

Hillary Clinton supporters are eager for compromise on top issues. Donald Trump backers want the government to stand on principle even if it means continued gridlock, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll.

“Democrats are willing to compromise. Republicans aren’t,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the survey.

Supporters of Clinton think it’s important for government officials to find common ground, but John Swinson, 57, of Wilmington, N.C., a Clinton voter, wasn’t optimistic.

“In Utopia, I’d like to see compromise but with the political environment that is going on now, that’s impossible,” he said. “It’s a stand on principle and I don’t give an inch.”

Trump’s backers see it more critical to stand on principle, even if it means more Washington inertia.

“You have to have border control,” said George Wooton, 52, of Hazard, Ky. “I go with principle.”

In general, 64 percent of likely voters said it’s important for government officials to compromise to find solutions. Four of five Clinton backers but only about half of Trump’s supporters agreed.

On specific issues, the division is deeper.

On the court, for example, Trump supporters appear to support blocking any Democratic appointments, either in the remaining days of Barack Obama’s presidency or the start of a Clinton term, if the nominee doesn't accept their views.

The Republican-run Senate has refused to consider Obama-nominated federal appellate judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court and some GOP senators have suggested the court can proceed with eight members and one vacancy well into the future should Clinton win.

That seems fine with Trump backers. Sixty-five percent urge government officials to stand on principle regarding a Supreme Court nominee even if it means gridlock - and a vacant seat on the court. Seventy-four percent of Clinton supporters want compromise.

Attitudes are similar on other incendiary issues.

Trump has made cracking down on undocumented immigrants, and building a wall between the United States and Mexico, a centerpiece of his campaign.

Fifty-three percent of his supporters want government officials to stick to his principles on immigration even if it means nothing gets done, while 84 percent of Clinton backers see it more important to compromise.

There’s a similar separation on allowing Syrian refugees into this country.

Clinton has been sympathetic. Trump has urged suspending immigration from any nation he says has been “compromised by terrorism until such time it’s proven that vetting mechanisms have been put in place.”

Eighty percent of Clinton loyalists want compromise; 70 percent of Trump supporters say stand on principle.

Another major Trump initiative involves the 2010 Affordable Care Act. He would repeal and replace it, while Clinton would keep the law but try to improve it.

Eighty-three percent of her supporters see compromise as important, while 55 percent of Trump supporters want government officials to stand on principle.

Jordan Adams, 27, of La Cygne, Kansas, sees compromise as fine at times, but not on getting rid of Obamacare. “It’s important to stand your ground on health care,” said Trump supporter. “I believe in a free market.”

But Valarie Grimes, 49, a Clinton supporter from Savannah, Ga., saw a need for finding common ground on a wide range of issues.

“I believe compromise is important,” she said.

On guns, Clinton has suggested some curbs; Trump has been vocal advocate for gun owners. Nearly four of five Clinton voters want compromise, while seven of 10 Trump backers urge sticking to principle.

On economic issues, where the differences between candidates has not been as pointed, there’s some sign of coming together. Eighty-three percent of Clinton voters want compromise on possible tax increases, while 51 percent of Trump followers feel the same way.

On trade, Trump has vowed to get tough. Clinton won’t go as far, but during the campaign said she opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. During negotiations four years ago, she called it the “gold standard.”.

Eighty-three percent of Clinton supporters want compromise, but so do 56 percent of Trump supporters. And 84 percent of Clinton backers want common ground on a minimum wage; so do 61 percent of Trump backers.

Voters also were largely united in saying it was important for the losing candidate to publicly acknowledge the winner. Even if the loser does not concede – and Trump has suggested he may not – overwhelming majorities from both camps said the winner can move on as next president.

But they also see lingering divisions. Most Clinton and Trump supporters expect many or some efforts to intimidate voters Tuesday, and 63 percent of Trump backers see the election as rigged in Clinton’s favor, as the Republican has repeatedly claimed. Seven percent of Clinton backers see the results tilted for Trump.

William Douglas, Lesley Clark and Kevin G. Hall of McClatchy’s Washington Bureau contributed

David Lightman: 202-383-6101, @lightmandavid


This survey of 1,587 adults was conducted November 1-3 by The Marist Poll, sponsored and funded in partnership with McClatchy. Adults 18 and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English or Spanish by telephone using live interviewers. Landline telephone numbers were randomly selected based upon a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the nation from ASDE Survey Sampler, Inc. The exchanges were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population. Respondents in the household were randomly selected by first asking for the youngest male. This landline sample was combined with respondents reached through random dialing of cell phone numbers from Survey Sampling International. Assistance was provided by Luce Research for data collection. After the interviews were completed, the two samples were combined and balanced to reflect the 2013 American Community Survey 1-year estimates for age, gender, income, race, and region. There are 940 likely voters defined by a probability turnout model which determines the likelihood respondents will participate in the 2016 Presidential Election based upon their chance of vote, interest in the election, and past election participation. The results for this subset are statistically significant within plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. The error margin was not adjusted for sample weights and increases for cross-tabulations.