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Opinion: One poll federal lawmakers should note

The U.S. Capitol is seen at night after negotiators sealed a deal for COVID relief.  [AP Photo]
The U.S. Capitol is seen at night after negotiators sealed a deal for COVID relief. [AP Photo]

Christmas week began with news of a gift from Congress — roughly $900 billion in pandemic assistance in a deal reached after months of hit-and-miss, often acrimonious, negotiations between the major parties. The compromise package is the sort of things Americans wish would happen more often on issues large and small.

That is clear in a recent poll by The Tarrance Group, a Washington, D-C.-based firm led by Ed Goeas, longtime Republican pollster and consultant and proud graduate of Cameron University. In a survey of 800 registered voters conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 2, Goeas found that 95% said they wanted to see Congress and president work together more closely to solve problems.

His hope, Goeas told the Ripon Society, a conservative public policy group, is that perhaps lawmakers will recognize this and build on it, “so we can create an environment where there is less fighting and more consensus building when it comes to solving the problems important to voters.”

That’s probably a long shot, given that Washington is as polarized as ever. But the overwhelming response should serve as an indication that many people outside the Beltway are more concerned with results than they are with which party gets to crow about them.

The poll produced other interesting findings.

One was that 42% felt the COVID-19 pandemic was the most important issue for Congress and the new president to deal with. Second on the list, at 20%, was promoting economic growth and creating jobs.

Regarding the pandemic, 61% said they did not think the federal government was doing enough to support the economy. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they would get the vaccine when it became widely available.

Face masks, which have become so politicized, are widely supported in this poll — 66% said they favored a nationwide requirement to wear a mask in public spaces. Given two values from which to choose — “We have a responsibility to each other and to our community,” or “My personal freedoms are more important than the greater public good” — 78% chose the former.

The survey also asked voters to provide the issues that were extremely or very important to them personally. Politicians should take note: 87% said creating and protecting jobs and 86% said improving the economy. Health care (77%), dealing with COVID (75%) and the 2017 tax cuts (67%) rounded out the top five.

Goeas also asked voters who they trusted most in dealing with the pandemic — the federal government, state government or local government. Thirty-one percent said state government; 26% chose the other two levels of government.

“As we move through the next few months,” he said, “if trust in the federal government begins to increase, then I think that will be a sign we’re beginning to dig ourselves out of the hole that we’re in.”

That’s a big if, but a little more collaboration and a little less combat might help the cause.

The Oklahoman Editorial Board

The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Kelly Dyer Fry, Publisher, Editor and Vice President of News; Owen Canfield, Opinion Editor; and Ray Carter, Chief Editorial Writer.. To submit a letter to the editor, go to this page or email... Read more ›