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Poll: Most Americans say Donald Trump doesn't have a mandate to complete his agenda

The survey also found that most voters who stayed home wanted Hillary Clinton to win the election.

By Doug G. Ware
Poll: Most Americans say Donald Trump doesn't have a mandate to complete his agenda
A Washington Post-George Mason University poll said Wednesday that only 30 percent of Americans believe President-elect Donald Trump has an obligation to carry out the agenda he presented during his campaign -- while 60 percent believe he should compromise with Democrats on the most divisive issues. Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- About six in 10 Americans said that although President-elect Donald Trump was very clear on many of his campaign proposals, he doesn't have a mandate to make good on them and should compromise with Democrats, according to a new poll.

A Washington Post-George Mason University Schar School national poll surveyed more than a thousand Americans about several items related to last week's election.

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The poll found that just 29 percent of those polled believe Trump needs to push the sweeping agenda he pitched during the campaign as-is -- while 59 percent said he should work with Democrats.

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The survey also revealed other sentiments about Trump's surprise victory on election night.

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Of those in the poll who did not vote on Nov. 8, 45 percent said they wanted Hillary Clinton to win the presidency -- supporting experts' assertions that the former secretary of state and other party candidates in key races were severely harmed because too many Democratic voters stayed home. Only 23 percent of non-voters polled said they preferred Trump.

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The survey found that more than half of respondents said they are dissatisfied with the direction the country has been going the last few years -- and 89 percent of those people said "large scale" change is needed to get the nation back on an acceptable track.

Nearly an even split of those questioned, 45 percent each, said they feel the United States is "basically okay" after such a bitter and divisive election versus those who said the election caused "real damage." Of those who said the election did damage, 53 percent said Trump is responsible for that harm. Just 8 percent blamed Clinton.

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Only 3 in 10 surveyed said they expect Trump to go too far with his agenda, while 48 percent believe he will handle issues appropriately.

"The polling numbers are telling him he should be acting more carefully," Justin Gest, a GMU professor and collaborator on the poll, said of the survey. "That is statistically significantly lower than when Bush won despite losing the popular vote in 2000."

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Trump lost the popular vote to Clinton by more than a million votes.

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While the poll statistics may clarify certain aspects of the election, they also muddle the picture a bit as well.

For example, although many respondents expressed a desire for large-scale change, most (56 percent) said they approve of the job President Barack Obama has done -- compared to just 40 percent who disapprove.

The poll was conducted by telephone with 1,002 Americans between Friday and Monday, and includes a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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