A majority of Americans think members of Congress should sit together at the upcoming State of the Union, according to a new poll released Friday.
The poll, conducted by CNN/Opinion research, found that seven in 10 Americans think legislators should sit together at the State of the Union address on Tuesday. Seventy-two percent of those polled said Republicans and Democrats should sit together at the event, while 22 percent said they should not.
Over the last two weeks, the proposal to have mixed seating at the State of the Union address has been gaining steam as a symbol of bipartisanship and an end to what has been called unnecessarily aggressive political rhetoric. Last week Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) drafted a letter proposing that members of both parties sit together at the annual address. Since he wrote the letter, an increasing number of Democrats in both the House and Senate have signed it and announced plans to sit next to a member of the opposing party.
At the House Democratic retreat on Friday House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said he expected seating at the State of the Union to be more bipartisan than in the past. He also said he hoped that bipartisanship would spill over into future legislative cooperation.
"I expect you to see a visual symbolism of the willingness to reach across and sit with one another," Hoyer said.