Watch CBSN Live

A Pox On Partisan Politics

As a rule, even the mention of public opinion polls makes my eyes glaze over.

But with Congress back in town and the partisan barking at full throttle from the White House to the Capitol, the latest CBS News-New York Times poll caught my attention, maybe because it just confirmed what I have always thought: that people just don't like the partisan stuff.

Washington gets itself all wound up trying to score partisan points, but the poll says the rest of us are not amused. It says an overwhelming majority of us, 74 percent, believe the two parties should just work together and get things done.

So, why is there so much partisanship, so many lines drawn in the sand, the old headlines-over-headway approach, when the object is not progress but finding a way to blame the other side?

There's only one reason that I know of: It's easier to raise campaign contributions when you stir people up. Politicians believe compromise, moderation is a fund-raising loser.

Yet, poll after poll shows that's exactly what people want.

The president is wildly popular these days. One reason? The poll says the way he has led the war effort has made people see him as more moderate. Have any of these multitudes of political geniuses advising candidates and presidents picked up on that? I doubt it.

We keep hearing that politicians spend too much time reading the polls. I wish they would spend more time reading this one.

But they won't.

E-mail your questions and comments to Face the Nation

MMII, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved