AS THE COUNTRY prepares for the Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration to take over the leadership of our government this week, it’s interesting to note what Mark Penn had to say about the disposition of the American people. We need to support the new government and be open to new ideas if we are to unite for the good of the country.

Why should we care what Penn says? Well, Penn is chairman of the Harris Poll. He’s studied the mood of the voters. He was a chief strategist during the campaigns of Bill and Hillary Clinton in 1996, 2000 and 2008. He sees a path for compromise and unity.

Penn said the data proves that voters are not divided into two extreme camps as the political rhetoric would lead us to believe. Actually, the people are more centrist in nature and outlook, and Penn warned that a president who governs too far to the right or left is likely to be left behind. He believes President Biden understands this.

According to CNN exit polls from November, the nation is largely moderate, practical and driven by common sense over ideology. Most voters prefer compromise on health care, immigration, stimulus and other thorny issues that the extremes of the two parties have pushed to the limits. It would help if cable news networks would tone down the partisan cheerleading.

Biden recently said he believes the political center is alive and well. It leans center-left. By working with lawmakers of both parties in the middle, he’s confident he will be able to get things done.

Polling shows that only 24% of voters identify as liberal, while 38% say they are conservative. Another 38% are moderate. Since 2014, the percentage of self-identified liberals declined two points, while the share of conservatives increased three points, said Penn.

While the Democrats claimed the big prize in 2020, that being the White House, the Republicans can take solace in the fact it was a successful election in many ways. While Biden garnered 80 million votes, he had no coattails. There was no blue wave as many had predicted. The voters rejected Donald Trump, not the Republican ideology.

Republicans won eight of the 13 presidential elections before this year. Republicans were in the majority in the Senate for the past six years and 16 of the past 26 years. They have controlled the House for 20 of the past 26 years.

In the 2020 election, Republicans actually picked up seats in the Democrat-controlled House. Despite losing the Jan. 5 Georgia Senate runoffs, the U.S. Senate is split 50-50. For the next two years, at least, Vice President Harris, a Democrat, will hold the tiebreaking vote.

At the state level, Republicans hold 27 of the 50 governors’ seats. All told, in the latest count from the National Conference of State Legislatures, Republicans hold almost 500 more state representatives’ seats across the country than do Democrats and more than 200 more state senate seats.

President Biden has made ending the COVID-19 pandemic a priority. Every American needs to get behind this effort. Our fellow citizens are suffering from this deadly virus. Help needs to be extended to the states, businesses and the unemployed. Tens of millions of Americans need a lifeline. The federal government is best equipped to provide the help.

State and local governments, which are on the front lines in the battle against the virus, urgently need several hundred billion dollars in federal aid. Without a lifeline to small businesses, they will not survive, and that means state and local governments will experience budget shortfalls.

This also is a good time to recognize the scientists, researchers, doctors and nurses who have worked so long and hard, and who have contributed to the discovery of the virus vaccines. Now, it is a matter of administering the vaccines to as many of the 330 million Americans as possible.