With Obama's re-election campaign and the next round of congressional elections two years off, both parties must decide whether to seek compromise or clashes. While Obama and House GOP leader John Boehner of Ohio have talked of possible accommodation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has spoken of blocking Obama in hopes of fueling his defeat in 2012.
Boehner has called last week's elections "a mandate for Washington to reduce the size of government." McConnell has said that rather than falling in love with Republicans, the public "fell out of love with Democrats."
Brendan Daly, spokesman for outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats would work with Republicans on creating jobs and reducing the federal deficit and oppose efforts to threaten the health care overhaul, Social Security or other programs.
Neither Boehner nor McConnell can boast much personal support from the public. For each, about a third view them favorably, about a quarter unfavorably and about 4 in 10 don't know enough to say.
The poll also found:
—Sixty-three percent rarely or never worry about being victims of terrorism.
—Almost two-thirds think Obama is handling terrorism effectively.
—Sixty-two percent don't want any countries to have nuclear weapons, while just 6 percent said any country that develops them should be able to keep them.
The AP-GfK Poll was conducted Nov. 3-8 by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Corporate Communications and involved landline and cell phone interviews with 1,000 adults chosen randomly from across the U.S. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
Associated Press Polling Director Trevor Tompson, AP Deputy Polling Director Jennifer Agiesta and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.
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